If you believe in excellent medical care with personal attention provided
by an experienced and world renowned surgeon and his caring staff, you
have found the right clinic! Our goal is to give personalized, top quality
medical care to each and every patient. Unlike other clinics, we do not
overbook our schedule for office visits or surgeries. PATIENTS ARE NOT
JUST A NUMBER TO US. WE STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT EACH AND EVERY PATIENT DESERVES
PROPER TIME AND CARE... [more]
The patients in the Testimonials list below have had the
same procedure displayed in the video above.
SO good to hear from you and Dr. Schiffer....boy, I have contemplated emailing
or calling to say hello and let you know how I am doing. Thank you so much
for contacting me! After all of these years, I continue to receive emails from
folks who read my testimonial on Dr. Schiffer's site and want more information
and validation about the CED procedure. As always, I answer every inquiry and
let all know how happy I was to have found CED, and further, Dr. Schiffer.
I've received emails from as close as here in AZ...and as far as Australia!
Please allow me to update you as to how I am doing:
I continue to do FABULOUS! It's been 5 years now as of March 14th, 2001 and
I am happy to report NONE of the symptoms ever returned! The CED procedure
took hold on that wonderful day, and I am pleased to say I never looked back
physically nor emotionally. I am active with my family once again and in the
community. We recently relocate to Flagstaff, Arizona (northern AZ) and my
oldest son is now almost 16 and plays High School Varsity Ice Hockey. My youngest
son also plays hockey, so between the two boys, our family is busier than ever
and very into this sport. Thanks to CED, I've been able to enjoy every minute
and be very active in my son's lives.....to say I will forever be grateful
for this second chance is an understatement.
Prabha, I hope you'll pass along my email to Dr. Schiffer....and should you
wish to use my email or have me write another formal testimonial as to my followup,
it would be my pleasure to do so.
Thanks again for keeping in touch......you guys will remain in my thoughts
and heart always!
(928) 607 1983 cell
Of course, please use my email to further assist Dr. Schiffer and to validate
this procedure. Most people think, in my case, that the success of this surgery
was TOO good to be true....I'm proof that it isn't and I'm happy to tell all
Let me know if I can be of help in any way.
Hugs to you and Dr. S....
"How do you possibly repay someone for giving you your life back?"
June 22, 2001
It has been only recently, after three months of contemplation
during my recovery that I have come up with a way to somewhat repay
Dr. Schiffer for his gift to me. It will never truly allow me to
feel "paid in full" as I will always be indebted to him
in my heart, but it will fulfill my need to give back. My need to
help and to be of comfort to someone who may be standing in the
shoes I stood in for three years. I hope my story gives them comfort,
assistance and provides them with hope. If I can assist one person
in reaching Dr. Schiffer so that he may help him the way he has
helped me, then I will feel as though I have given back in some
My name Is Tina Dudek. I am 37, married to a wonderful man for 13 years, and have two boys, 10 and 8. I am a full- time homemaker, a job I embrace and enjoy. Before the ordeal I am about to tell you about, I was active in the school, sports, family, you name it, I was in it. I loved life in our small town. But on February 7, 1998, that all changed. Here is my story...
I'll never forget the morning. My family and I were off to have brunch and a day of shopping in Scottsdale, Arizona. My husband and our youngest son were in our Dodge Ram Truck, and our oldest son, then 7, was with me in my 1968 original Camaro. Separate cars were driven as we were going to drop off the Camaro to have its air conditioning vent looked at. After exiting the freeway, my husband and the Dodge were out of sight. They had gotten ahead of us. My son and I were stopped due the traffic when WHAM! We were rear ended at a high enough speed to force us forward approximately 4 car lengths. As the Camaros that year were not manufactured with headrests, my head was forced backward with a "snap" and again forward when we finally stopped. The rest is somewhat a blur, but my best recollection has been something like this. The police came, they called my husband and by the time he arrived at the scene, my son was standing alone next to the ambulance where they had loaded me up to take me away. I don't remember much except for the pain and tingling in my neck, arm and hip, being strapped and taped down on a flat board, locked down in full head restraint and yelling for my son wondering if he was ok. As I recall these details, it still puts tears in my eyes...
Fast forward. My husband is off work for 1 month as I am bedridden. The use of my arm is gone, as I have no feeling in my right arm and hand. Weeks later when the nerves awaken, I have excruciating pain that will not let up and a loss of mobility in my arm and hand. My neck is a mess and the pain I have is unbearable. From that point and for the next three (3) years, I am shuffled in and out of doctors’ offices and hospitals for tests. Some painless, some so painful such as venograms, angiograms, and nerve conductive testing, that I think I am losing my mind. MRI, Cat Scans, Bone Scans, you name it, I have had it, still, no concrete information as to why I had so much pain. Three years of doctors misdiagnosing me or NOT diagnosing me at all, simply stating a need for physical therapy, as they could not bring themselves to admit they "didn't know" what was wrong. With every new doctor referral, I was given hope only to be let down. Honestly, a lot of the time, it wasn't the pain and frustration from the injury alone, nor the lack of obtaining a diagnosis that depleted my spirit, it was the doctors themselves. Their condescending and arrogant attitude that they were the doctor, and because THEY couldn't explain my pain, then it obviously didn't exist, was both demeaning and insulting. One begins to wonder if one is crazy due to the inhumane treatment and interrogations, knowing full well that the pain is real and is getting worse. This began to feed on my body, my mind, and my soul. The pain fed on me, and then trickled down into everything I did. On my family, my children and then took over every part of my life.
Towards the end, I was left with waking up in the morning (if I slept at all) knowing that I was to face the day with this pain and depression. My support team (my husband, my in-laws) were there for me but honestly, how much could you ask people to take? How many times can they continue to be there for you without resentment? They never complained, mind you, but my guilt at being such a burden to my family added to my injury, pain, and depression. My marriage suffered, my relationships dwindled, and my life as a whole nearly collapsed. It was at this darkest point that things started to turn for me...
December, 2000 during a consultation with my Hand/Arm Surgeon, I remarked that I couldn't help wondering about my neck and spine. Although my MRI in 1998 showed only "slight bulging" on the C5/6, C6/7, I couldn't help feeling that this might be a key. No one had examined my neck and spine area. My Hand Surgeon who had exhausted every option and idea, and who had performed a nerve release on my forearm the prior year attempting to cure my problem, saw this as an "it couldn't hurt" situation. He promptly referred me to a Spine Surgeon.
January 2001 after seeing the Spine Doctor, he narrowed it down to either Thoracic Outlet Syndrome or two herniated discs. After performing an angiogram and venogram, he ruled out the TOC and with the help of a nerve block injection, confirmed the two herniated discs, C5/6 and C6/7. Finally, I thought, an answer. Unfortunately, the answer was not very comforting. The Spine Surgeon suggested a two level fusion. He went on to explain that I had two options. I could do nothing and my pain and discs would continue to worsen, or I could have this fusion. He so nonchalantly told me that my mobility would never be the same. I would eventually have to have another fusion somewhere down the road, perhaps as early as 5 years, due to the pressure and the rubbing the rods would create against the good discs above and below it. In short, this "fix" would lead to future herniations, pain, and additional fusions. I can't honestly remember at which point my eyes glazed over and I had the “deer in the headlight” look, but I believe it was somewhere between the "I will cut 2" in your neck" and "put a steel rod, plates and bolts inside". For those of you who have sat through a consultation like this and have been given this option, you know what I mean. Not a warm fuzzy feeling. My husband and I left feeling confused, unsure, and scared to death...
At that point I was determined to try and decipher all of the medical jargon I had heard that day. After all, even though the Spine Doctor used the word "WE" numerous times when describing how "WE” would feel after the invasive surgery he wanted to do, I knew it was only "ME" that would be affected. A week later, while trying to educate myself about this fusion procedure, I fell into quite accidentally, a website that caused me to leap from my seat at the computer into the family room where my husband was sitting. I felt like I had come home. There were testimonials from people with similar, if not exact situations as mine, on this website! Symptoms and pain were as mine. Could this be possible? This website had me thinking and feeling that perhaps there was an alternative! Excitement and intrigue were replacing my feeling of hopelessness. This website was www.drschiffer.com. I read every testimonial written, every line typed. By the end, I knew I had to take a chance. Still feeling quite skeptical of doctors and their offices, it was hard for me to believe that this place actually existed, and if they did, would they be open to my inquiries. After all, every other doctor, with exception to my Hand Surgeon, responded to my questions as if they posed such inconvenience and furthermore, a threat. I picked up the phone and called Dr. Schiffer's office. Carol answered. I could feel her smiling at me from across the state through that phone, and in one moment knew where I belonged and knew where my future was. She informed me that yes, they would welcome my online questionnaire and then get back to me. I hung up and submitted my information. By the next day, Joan had replied, and said that they thought I would be a candidate. I was elated and truly hopeful for the first time since February 7, 1998. The next step was to FED EX my X-rays and MRI's to Dr. Schiffer.
I set up an appointment with my Spine Surgeon, eager to get his reaction to this wonderful finding! I also needed to pick up my MRIs and X-rays. When I asked my surgeon if he was familiar with Dr. Schiffer and his CED procedure, his eyes rolled over and he smirked, "yes I am." He then proceeded to tell me all of the reasons why it WOULDN'T work for me! He said that my discs themselves were not strong and they HAD to be taken out. Nothing else would work fix me but fusion. He then folded his arms across his chest which told me I was on my own. He would not be supporting my decision. I then told him thank you, but that I owed it to myself to try this option first as it would not hinder my ability to come back and have his invasive surgery if the CED was not successful. Worse case scenario is that I would end up back in his office. He smirked again and said, "See you soon". Ordinarily, I would have been detoured based on what this doctor said, however after reading other's experiences, and talking to them in person, my doctors response was typical of most. I left still feeling wonderful and sure of myself that I was on the right path despite his attempt at discouraging me.
After sending Dr. Schiffer's office my MRI's and X-rays, Dr. Schiffer called. I was so surprised to hear from him so soon that I nearly dropped the phone! His voice was reassuring, his statements honest and direct. Although he felt sure confirming the herniations, my MRI's did not show them as being bad enough to warrant the high amount of pain I was experiencing. He suggested that I have a Discogram (shooting dye into the disc to confirm leakage). Dr. Schiffer went on to tell me that MRI's aren’t always the best choice for confirming the degree of a herniation. It isn’t that they lie, they just don't tell the entire truth. I must say that initially I was a little disappointed that Dr. Schiffer did not eagerly say yes to the CED right then and there. I was so READY for this to happen, and I was looking for an instant response. The more I thought about it however, the more I came to respect his cautiousness and appreciate the fact that he was not "knife happy" as my other Surgeon had been. This was a good thing.
My husband and I decided that we would go to California to see Dr. Schiffer and have him perform a Discogram and then the CED if warranted. It made sense that if he was to do the CED, then he should perform the Discogram also. Getting the insurance to see things our way proved to be another story. For anyone reading this...do not take an insurance company's initial NO as their final answer. Keep pushing and telling your story until you hear YES. The insurance companies will not readily say YES when they have to step out of their guidelines for something new. I went from my first conversation with them, hearing a flat, strong NO, to three weeks later after scratching, crying, and bombarding them with information, to hearing YES.
March 8, 2001 we had our first consultation with Dr. Schiffer at his office. I honestly feel that a videotape should be made of Dr. Schiffer's staff and office so that other Doctor's may watch and learn. My interface with Carol, and then Praba, Joan, and Dayna, was nothing short of FIRST CLASS. These people should be listed in the dictionary under compassion and professionalism. And Dr. Schiffer was nothing short of amazing. Meeting him in person proved to be everything we had hoped for. His words were simple and explanative. He made sure that we had a complete understanding of everything. From my MRI's to the CED procedure itself, no information was left unexplained. It was the first time someone actually showed me and went over my MRI's with me. My husband and I felt informed and relieved. We left there after our consultation KNOWING that we were in good hands. We would return on the 12th for the Discogram and surgery the 14th if warranted by the results.
March 12, 2001 I had my Discogram. It was not bad. I had heard horror stories that if your herniations were extreme, the pain would be the same. Not true in my case. Although my neck was "sore" afterward, it was nothing compared to the pain I had lived with for so long. I lived on Burger King chocolate shakes that night and Tylenol Extra Strength! Not a bad thing really! The next morning I was up and having breakfast! March I3th was our appointment for the results.
The Discogram, Dr. Schiffer explained, showed what I had hoped for. Two herniations and bad ones at that. The worst of the two was at the C6/7level, which explained my severe pain. I would have the CED surgery at two levels the next day.
March 14, 2001 I began my new life. I still get emotional when I think how lucky I am. The surgery itself was a piece of cake. I am not just saying this either, as I am a wimp when it comes to needles and pain. Aside from inserting the IV in which they had difficulty doing due to my tough skin, I would say it was rated about a 1 on the pain scale. I remember bits and pieces of the surgery itself, as they had to bring me in and out of consciousness to communicate with me. Afterwards, I felt pressure and a bit of pain in my neck area. I had one shot of Demerol for pain, within 20 minutes, the pain was gone, and it did not return to that area. In recovery I was in tears, happy tears as the pain, swelling, numbness, and tingling in my arm and hand were GONE! It was that fast. I left the hospital that day in a soft brace. I felt alive, awake, and ready to live again. I spent the rest of the day watching TV in the hotel, and sipping on a chocolate shake. That night I was able to eat a cheeseburger.
March 15, 2001, we had our postoperative consultation. I felt wonderful but was having periodic spasms in my neck and arm. It was normal, I was assured, but probable that the stiffness and pain in my neck would worsen in the next 3-5 days, and then begin to ease up. I was instructed not to lift anything heavier than my shoes for 3 months. After a "glare" from my husband, I agreed! I knew far too well the alternative if I did not abide! I took a photo with Dr. Schiffer for his "patient memory book", and off we went to fly home, and begin my recovery. The next 3-5 days were hard as the soreness and stiffness worsened, but then, it diminished. Moreover, my scar from the probe, if you can call it a scar, is nowhere to be found. It appeared as a freckle for a month, and then disappeared. Somehow, I don’t think a 2" gash would have healed in the same manner!
June 22, 2001. Well, here I am. Three months post CED. Today, as I write this testimonial, I am sitting poolside watching my boys, now 8 and nearly 11 swim and splash. Gone are the days I sit inside and watch life through a window from my bed. Gone are the days I have to submit to the pain and ask my family to do the same. My husband is no longer peeking his head into the door after work wondering whether his wife is going to snap his head off due to frustration and pain. He now hurries home so that we can all enjoy our evenings outside. My memories of the past 31/2 years are fading but not forgotten. So much time wasted and lost, but through the pain, tests, and doctors, I made it. The 3 month recovery period is over, and I am beginning to live life again. I am still cautious about what I do and how I do it, and I probably always will be. There is always the fear of re-injury that lurks in my mind. I DO NOT want to experience that again! I still have some residual stiffness and continue to have some limited mobility turning my neck. The positive is that I continue to note progress every day in small amounts. With it only being 3 months post CED, I am hopeful that this will improve. And that numbness, pain, swelling and tingling in my arm? Well, it never did return.
Bottom line for those of you who have had similar pains and have this injury now, PLEASE do not waste another moment wondering whether to call Dr. Schiffer's office. He and his CED procedure are worth pursuing. It truly is an alternative for the "nuts and bolts" procedures other doctors will tell you your ONLY fix. Be your own advocate, research, step out of the lines, and dare to walk away from doctors who tell you there is nothing else for you. You owe it to yourself and your families.
And to Dr. Schiffer... thank you from deep within my heart. You have given me back my life and my spirit, returned my husband his wife, and my children their mother. There will never be enough time in a day, nor words written, to convey my admiration and gratitude.