Published: Nov. 9, 2010
Updated: Nov. 9, 2010
I am a 72-year-old lady and I would like to share my very successful story about my back surgery that I had at Duke University Hospital in April 2009.
First, I would like to tell about my past back problems. I went to University of Virginia Hospital for five years, 2004-2009, for a deteriorating scoliosis condition and in that time frame, I had two hip replacements there that were successful.
However, in that five-year period, my back had gotten very painful. The scoliosis had moved over the entire length of the spine. It started with a slight curvature and quickly became increasingly severe with the loss of about four inches of height and actual movement of my internal organs -- kind of a corkscrew twisting.
The physician there recommended waiting until the condition worsened and then they would perform an approximately 12- to 16-hour operation with incisions through both my back and stomach. This procedure would involve spinal fixations of rods and screws ... a very extensive surgery. In 2009, the doctor said it was time for my operation.
Fortunately, I had a friend recommend I be seen by the neurosurgeons at Duke University Hospital, and I was told there that Dr. Carlos Bagley was an awesome doctor. The staff person set up an appointment. That was a lucky day for me, because when I met and talked with him, I knew right away that I wanted him for my doctor.
Dr. Bagley agreed that I had a severely twisted spine with associated organ displacement. My back had become so twisted my rib cage rubbed against my hip bone! It is difficult to imagine the pain and subsequent lifestyle I was leading. He agreed I should have surgery immediately, so I was scheduled for surgery on April 24, 2009.
My niece accompanied me and remembers more about the few days after my surgery than I do. The entire admission, hospitalization, and surgery could not have been handled with better results.
Dr. Bagley performed this extremely delicate procedure of placing two rods along the entire length of my spine and the associated screws in each vertebrae. He accomplished this with the procedure being performed through one long incision in my back (not through my stomach and back as I had been told by the UVA physicians).
The procedure was approximately eight hours in length and my niece was continually updated about my condition during the entire day. She met with Dr. Bagley after the procedure ended and he was very detailed about the procedure itself, what I could expect as part of the healing process, and was even shown my x-rays of before and after the procedure. She was amazed at the degree of straightening Dr. Bagley was able to accomplish during the eight hours.
Although I was in intensive care for 24 hours, I remember her telling me repeatedly that the procedure was so successful I was just going to be thrilled. The result was just amazing ... my back was straight! I could stand up!
The next week or so is difficult to remember as my pain medication certainly worked well and I was not in severe pain. I healed rapidly, was walking (with help, of course) within days, and was released from the hospital to a rehabilitation center after a few days. I remained there for approximately two weeks while recovering.
I can’t express the gratitude I have for Dr. Bagley’s brilliant surgical skills, nor the wonderful care I received from the entire staff. There are no limits to my walking, using the stairs, working about the house and yard, and I have had so little, if any, pain. I’ve regained about three inches in height and have absolutely no twisting or curvature in the spinal region. It is with pleasure that I can describe my entire stay and surgery at Duke.
You have an amazing group of physicians, nursing staff, lab staff ... I could go on and on. Thank you again for giving me my life back, Dr. Bagley.
Frances (Micki) Webb