My whole family was able to breathe a sigh of relief yesterday. My mom has been dealing with progressively deteriorating back problems for about a year and a half now. That’s when her symptoms really started to affect her anyways, but I suspect this has been there for years, causing her pain and slowly making everything more difficult.
She’d been through the whole regimen of conservative treatments and was finally ready to turn to surgery for some relief. I was really happy when she decided to speak with a neurosurgeon. Surgery is definitely a big deal and not something to just jump into, but being as involved in orthopedics as I am at work I fairly pro-surgery granted conservative methods are exhausted first.
Yesterday morning she went in to Troy Beaumont Hospital for a Laminectomy. We were all a bit anxious about the surgery. While we certainly wanted her to get it, her last surgery didn’t go so well. Almost 3 years ago she went in for an outpatient gallbladder removal. Things appeared to be going fine, then while in recovery she went into cardiac arrest and her heart stopped. They administered CPR, revived her and rushed her into the cardiac cath lab, but didn’t find any problems. At the time they diagnosed her as having “broken heart syndrome”, but since then we’ve heard opinions from multiple people (including her cardiologist and my wife, a cardiac nurse) that it was her congestive heart failure most likely to blame. It was a really scary situation, especially since I was in California on business when it happened. I remember rushing to the airport, grabbing the next flight home, wondering if I would get to see my mom. Luckily it all worked out fine.
So, back to present day, we made the trip over to the hospital, not taking any chances this time of being too far away. The hospital took extra precautions as well, with the anesthesiologists watching her closely and her cardiologist checking in during surgery. Everything ended up going great and she is recovering very well. They removed a lot of bone to decompression L3, L4, L5 and S1, plus removed a large bone spur that was digging into her spinal column. After that they ground up some of the removed bone, mixed it with some synthetic bone grafting material to create semi-rigid connections between the vertebrae. This is done in place of rods or plates.
I definitely have to give my mom some credit for toughing it out with some intense pain. When the surgeon discussed the case with us he mentioned it was in the top 10 percent of cases he had done in terms of severity. He also mentioned that when he decompressed everything the spinal column nearly tripled in size, meaning there was some major compression going on. It’s great to have her doing better and recovering.