New minimally invasive spine procedure helps Tom return to work and a more active lifestyle

Tom enjoys his career as a high school football coach and the opportunity to develop today’s youth. A couple years ago, he began experiencing symptoms of pins and needles in his left side, from his lower back to hip and into his leg. At first, Tom attributed the symptoms to over-doing it. So, he allowed his body to rest for a bit and tried taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatories to help relieve his symptoms.

Unfortunately, the symptoms gradually worsened to the point he was losing strength in his left leg. Tom drives a large truck and he lacked strength in his left leg to hop up into the cab. He was alarmed when he had to use his arm to help lift his leg. Tom was limited also in his gym workouts and lower body exercises were impossible.

Tom was eager to feel better, so he visited a chiropractor for decompression treatment. Unfortunately, this didn’t help and Tom continued to have the same weakness and tingling in his left leg.

A friend suggested he visit Swift Spine Institute in Reno. Tom traveled from Northern California to Swift Spine Institute where he saw Dr. Edward Perry, a fellowship-trained spinal neurosurgeon. Dr. Perry reviewed his medical history and diagnostic images. He next discussed with Tom the results of his MRI. The MRI revealed severe flatback syndrome that is often associated with degenerative disc disease. “Dr. Perry talked with me about treatment options. I could first try an epidural steroid injection, to see if this would help,” Tom explains. Another plan of action would be a new minimally invasive surgical approach called Oblique Lateral Interbody Fusion (OLIF). Meanwhile, Tom’s weakness and numbness in his left side continued to worsen. Weakness and numbness are both red flag symptoms that if left untreated could lead to permanent damage. Tom was eager to get back to his active lifestyle— he decided to move forward with the spine surgery recommended by Dr. Perry.

In July 2015, Dr. Perry performed the OLIF procedure using O-arm stealth guidance technology that minimizes the incision size and allows precise implant placement. After the OLIF, Dr. Perry completed a necessary posterior fusion also using the O-arm guidance. While the recovery from the two surgeries wasn’t easy, Tom was careful to follow the post-surgical instructions from Dr. Perry and the Swift Spine Institute team. He was impressed when Dr. Perry called to check on him from vacation. Tom attended physical therapy after surgery to help build up his strength and flexibility. He has incorporated some of the exercises into his regular fitness routine.

Tom returned to work as a high school football coach within two months. His pain and neurological symptoms were greatly improved.

Today, Tom is back to a full body strength training workout also. He looks forward to gradually returning to golf this spring, and water skiing during the summer — both not possible last year.

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Swift Institute Specialties
Hand and upper extremity treatment in Reno, Sparks, and Carson City at Swift Institute


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