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PROPER TIME AND CARE... [more]
It has been six months since you performed the cervical endoscopic
discectomy(“CED”) at level C6-7 of my neck. I am writing
this to let you know how well I am doing, and also to share my
experience for the benefit of others suffering from a herniated
My problem began in April 2003. After a weekend of constant allergy
sneezing, I noticed severe pain in my right shoulder, numbness
in the tips of the index and middle fingers of my right hand and
a tingling sensation down my right arm. The first doctor I saw
thought I had simply pulled a muscle. When my symptoms did not
improve, I saw another doctor who first diagnosed bursitis of the
shoulder and then, when my symptoms continued, diagnosed carpal
tunnel syndrome and suggested I see a neurologist.
The neurologist found that, in addition to the pain and numbness, I had completely
lost strength in the tricep of my right arm. He suspected the problem was my
neck and ordered an MRI. The pain in my shoulder when I pay flat during the
MRI was the most excruciating I have ever experienced. I will never forget
how I felt when the neurologist told me that the MRI showed I had a one centimeter
disc herniation in my neck and recommended I see a neurosurgeon.
I had good cause for my apprehensions. My husband had experienced disappointing
results from two microdiscectomies on the lumbar spine during the past few
years. It was his experience that led me to research alternatives using the
Internet, and as a result, I learned about you and your CED procedure.
I was not, however, able to find a surgeon in Dallas, or elsewhere in Texas,
able to perform this or a similar minimally invasive procedure. The most difficult
part of the entire process was obtaining the tests I needed for the CED procedure
from a local physician and facing his questions about why I found it necessary
to leave Dallas for medical care. I also sensed incredulity on the part of
others when I explained what I would be doing and how I found out about this
procedure. Without the confidence that I had in you as a result of our conversations
prior to the surgery, I am not sure I would have had the resolve to proceed.
My husband and I traveled to the Bay Area on Monday, June 30, 2003 and met
you for the first time. You answered all of our questions, carefully reviewed
my films with us and fully explained the risks of the surgery. With a leap
of faith, I decided to proceed with the surgery the next day.
I was concerned about the level of consciousness I would have during the
surgery and, frankly would have opted to be put completely under. All I remember
about the surgery itself, however, is at some point hearing you speak with
the anesthesiologist and asking me how I felt. The next thing I knew, I was
in the recovery room. I soon realized all my symptoms were completely gone – pain,
numbness and tingling. By noon, I left the surgical center with a small bandage
on my neck, wearing a soft cervical collar and had lunch with my husband. Back
at the hotel I was able to work, as well as call my family and coworkers. We
flew home after seeing you the next day. By the following Monday, I was back
at the office full-time. I strictly followed your post-op instructions and
have had no recurrence of symptoms.
As a woman, I would like to add a word about my concerns with respect to
scarring. With a microdiscectomy, I was told I could expect a _ - 1 inch incision
on the front of my neck. With the CED procedure, however, the day I returned
to work, I wore a neckline below the collarbone and had to point to the place
on my neck where the endoscope was inserted. The tiny mark that there was there
is now completely gone. Whenever I talk about the surgery, I still like to
show people where it was (whether they ask or not).
Please accept my deepest gratitude for what you have done for me. I believe
the CED procedure and the techniques you have developed are the better choice
for many people. Best wishes for the New Year..