"Dr. Salari was an absolute blessing. I don’t have any feeling of discomfort in my neck."

Spine Tale

James Hagey

As a 77 year old school bus driver, part of my job requires that I routinely perform pre-trip systems checks to ensure that everything is working properly. One Friday morning, I was inspecting the clearance lights because we begin work while it’s still dark outside. A single light in the back of the bus was being temperamental, so I began walking towards it down the empty parking lane beside me. I was looking up at the lights, not watching where I was stepping, and suddenly tripped and hit my head on the bus next to me. I got a large gash on my head that hurt terribly. I went to clean it up and get ready to leave when I noticed pain shooting down both my arms. I began flailing my arms to try to stop the intense pain.

Another bus driver called 9-1-1, and I was taken over to Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center. They stitched up my eye and ran some tests to figure out what was causing the severe pain that had migrated into both of my hands and fingers. Dr. Salari was on call at the hospital when I was admitted. He recalls his findings from the diagnostic tests:

“Mr. Hagey had numbness, pain, and weakness immediately in both arms along with a gash on his head. In the hospital, his symptoms did improve slightly, but he still had severe paresthesia and weakness associated with both hands. CT and MRI scans indicated an extension distraction injury involving the C6/7 level, and he was clinically exhibiting central cord syndrome. He also appeared to have significant stenosis in his cervical spine at the level above, C5/ C6. We spoke about everything and decided to proceed with surgery. What made the case a little more complex was an aberrant vertebral artery on the left side with a history of carotid endarterectomy on that side, which dictated a right sided only approach. We decided to do a two level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).”

SpineTale-HageyDr. Salari made sure I completely understood the procedure and his plan. He performed the surgery on Saturday, the day after my accident. I did so well that I was released to go home the following day. Dr. Salari was an absolute blessing. I don’t have any feeling of discomfort in my neck; the pain is just nonexistent. I have a little bit of tingling and cold/hot sensations in my finger tips, but it’s nothing compared to what I was experiencing at the point of injury. It’s so strange to see the titanium plate and screws in my neck. I don’t even know it’s there until I look at the xrays! That intimidation or fear of working on my spine wasn’t even a concern. The pain that I was experiencing had to be fixed.

I was able to get right back to work, and although I had been concerned about being able to play golf again, Dr. Salari said I can play. I have no fear of any activity. I’m also looking forward to doing yard work and getting the landscaping fixed up at our home in the valley this spring.

It was just amazing and wonderful to have the group at DISC come to my rescue. I told my family and peers that the caliber of care they provide is unmatched. I’m so pleased with that organization and can’t express enough how fortunate we are that Dr. Salari showed up. DISC hosted a Spinal Research Foundation’s We’ve Got Your Back 5k run and 1-mile walk that I participated in. The involvement the entire practice had at the event was really amazing. I met another gentleman at the event who also had spinal surgery, and this man was mighty grateful of that crew. I said, “I’m with you!”

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"Dr. Field is nothing less than a miracle worker."

Tim-TennisDr. Field is nothing less than a miracle worker. After I ruptured my disc, the pinched Sciatica nerve in my left leg did not allow me to move at all.

On Dec. 1, 2013, I ruptured my L4/L5 disc.
On Dec. 3, 2013, I had my MRI.
On Dec. 4, 2013, I had my first appointment with Dr. Field. I immediately felt comfortable with Dr. Field and his knowldege.
On Dec. 5, 2013, Dr. Field performed Microdiscectomy Surgery on my back.  

After my surgery on Dec. 5, I was able to walk out of the hospital pain free. Surprisingly, I was able to host a party the next day with 100 of my closest friends, pain free. They were amazed at my recovery from the operation. During my recovery, I did not have to take any pain medication at all.

Since my procedure, I have been playing the best tennis of my life. I have recommended Dr. Field to everyone that I meet with back problems. See you on the courts Dr. Field!!

-Tim Schweitzer
Microdiscectomy Surgery Patient

"I would highly recommend Dr. Salari, and all the surgeons at this facility."

Two Micro-discectomies by Dr. Anthony Yeung; Lumbar surgery by Dr. Salari

After I herniated my disc, at work - I had sciatic leg and lower back pain. Dr. Anthony Yeung, performed 2 separate micro-discectomies, both were successful. I had a very active field job in Telecommunications and worked climbing towers, and carrying communications equipment and pulling cable. I also went to the gym 5-6 days a week.

My 3rd and most likely, last lumbar surgery was performed by Dr. Salari. This was the most difficult as some bone had to be cut away for Dr. Salari to be able to access the area that would relieve the pressure on the nerves causing me pain.

No one ever wants to get surgery, yet I was very impressed with the level of care that I received before, during and after surgery. I was back to the gym (and work) in 2 -3 weeks. I would highly recommend Dr. Salari, and all the surgeons at this facility. They are all awesome and exceptional in their field.

Thank you,
Jean Piper

"For the first time in 4 years I can honestly say that I am pain free!!"

Patient Andy FrancoFor the first time in 4 years I can honestly say that I am pain free!!! What started out as a furious series of back spasms that I experienced every 3-6 months developed over time into sciatic nerve pain. Not only did this recurring nightmare take its toll on my health and well-being, it also created a downward spiral for my social and professional endeavors.

Over the past few years, I've anxiously searched for answers to figure out what the cause was and to discover a cure. I started out with massage and chiropractic care. Then I tried other remedies like acupuncture, cortisone shots and physical therapy. Finally, I got my first MRI and we discovered that I had 2 herniated discs L4/L5 and one extremely bulged disc L5.

The orthopedic doctor that I was under the care of recommended a series of 3 epidurals. While these shots created more discomfort every time, they eventually alleviated some of the chronic discomfort that I was experiencing but weren't a permanent cure.

MRI of Andy's back pain conditionThen finally after undergoing countless treatments by 6 different doctors, a friend told me about D.I.S.C. and Dr. Justin Field. Out of fear of undergoing an operation, I was hoping to opt for a non-invasive procedure. Unfortunately, my condition was way too severe to consider anything else but surgery. As I began to weigh my options, fate intervened and my condition reached a very critical state.

Dr. Field made time in his schedule to be there for me. For that I am eternally grateful. If it wasn't for him and his expert staff, I would never know what it's like to have my life back again.

If you're in pain and contemplating what to do, look no further. Surgery may seem like a last resort but you'll never get the years of suffering back.

-Andy Franco

"I no longer have to say, ‘I have a bad back.’ I have banished the phrase from my life!"

Spine Tale

Kristin Greene Skabo

Spine-Tale-SkaboI first injured my lower back seven years ago while playing with my son. I had re-injured my lumbar disc at least twice a year every year since then. However, this past April I began to feel a distinctly different pain. The pain radiated down my leg, which was something I hadn’t experienced before. Within a week, the pain in my leg and lower back were constant and became so debilitating that I was unable to sit. I could not sleep, I couldn’t focus on anything besides the pain, and I could not walk! This time, my disc had herniated and was impinging on a spinal nerve.

I immediately went to the emergency room, but the physician simply gave me pain medication and dismissed me. However, when I remained unable to walk, I decided to reconsider back surgery. I had always felt intimidated by spine surgery, but then I realized, “I am having back problems and will for the rest of my life if I don’t seek treatment. What if surgery alleviates the issues in the future?”

Beyond the physical limitations, my back pain affected me psychologically as well. I am a fit forty-one year old active mother. I couldn’t understand why my body was breaking down. How had this happened to me? I didn’t know if I would get better this time, and it was frightening. For seven years I experienced back pain, but I never sought treatment. After the rupture, I knew I needed help. Most importantly, I want to be able to always play with my son. He has lived most of his life with my injured back. When the last episode occurred, I told him that I was going to get better soon, and I would be careful so this would never happen again. He looked at me and said, “You say that every time,” and walked away with his head hung. Needless to say, when my disc ruptured, I knew I had to make good on my word to never let this happen again.

One particular event made me reconsider a surgical solution. I had ruptured the disc two days before I had to travel to Washington, DC for meetings. Since I could not walk at all, I had to arrange to use a wheelchair. I had a meeting in the White House and was unable to walk through those halls I admired so much. I was holding back tears from the pain while trying to be coherent in my arguments. A meeting in the White House was such a special opportunity for me, and my damaged disc had ruined the experience. I couldn’t let any more experiences pass me by.

Spine-Tale-Skabo-figure1Two weeks after the rupture, I met Dr. Chris Yeung. Dr. Yeung recalls meeting Kristin and evaluating her back. “Kristin had managed intermittent back pain exacerbations for years. She likely had partial tears in the outer parts of the intervertebral disc (the annulus) which caused localized back pain. Eventually, the annulus weakened and the softer central part of the disc (the nucleus) herniated through the annulus and into the spinal canal and compressed her nerve.”

“Kristin’s images revealed she had a very large disc herniation compressing her S1 spinal nerve. It caused nerve damage with weakness, numbness, and debilitating pain (sciatica). This type of pain can turn even the most stoic person into a crippled shadow of themself.”

“I treated her with a microscopic lumbar discectomy through a 2.5 centimeter incision to remove the disc herniation and relieve the nerve compression. She had arrived to the surgery center in a wheelchair and was able to walk out two hours later. She had immediate relief of her nerve pain and quickly recovered strength and sensation. This is a very successful procedure and is indicated for disc herniations in patients that have a signifi cant neurologic deficit, debilitating pain, or have failed to get relief with an appropriate trial of non-operative care.”

Spine-Tale-Skabo-postopPrior to my operation, I had always feared damaging the disc again. Would it be when I sneezed? How long will I be bedridden this time? How long before I could run around and play with my son? I lived in constant fear of the next injury. I wasn’t ever able to live in the moment and enjoy it. However, after the microdiscectomy with Dr. Yeung, I feel changed in so many ways. I can play football and soccer with my son! I don’t worry about when the next episode will be. Sneezing, twisting and bending don’t worry me. I no longer have to say, ‘I have a bad back.’ I have banished the phrase from my life!

For those experiencing back pain, don’t let life pass you by because you are always in pain or waiting for the next painful episode. Don’t let the fear of the surgery hinder you; the result is remarkable!

DOWNLOADSpinal Research Foundation's "Spine Tale: Kristin Greene Skabo"

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