Patient: Monica Hutchinson
Age: 36 Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Surgeon: Dr. Justin Field of Desert Institute for Spine Care, Phoenix, AZ
Indications: Bulging discs
Levels Treated: L4-S1
Surgery Date: August 31, 2011
Life Prior to Surgery: Five years ago, Monica injured her back during an on-the-job accident in the emergency room when a patient fell on her. She decided to try physical therapy as treatment for her pain which provided relief until recently. On August 1, 2011, Monica twisted the wrong way while at work filling out patient paperwork and felt a “pop” in her back. She immediately experienced intense pain which she tried to “walk off”, but it only worsened. She checked into the emergency department and an MRI revealed bulging discs at L4, L5, and S1. In addition, the discs were impinging on her sciatic nerve. She saw her primary care physician who filled out the workman’s comp information and referred Monica to Dr. Justin Field.
She immediately sought a consultation with Dr. Field who explained different conservative treatment options, like epidurals. Monica tried epidurals which failed to provide relief for more than 2 days. After the epidurals failed, Dr. Field recommended surgery. Monica was very hesitant about spine surgery because, working in healthcare, she had heard and seen multiple horror stories.
She sought a second opinion with a pain management group that recommended additional epidurals, physical therapy and traction treatment. Monica’s pain prevented her from functioning – she could barely walk and couldn’t work. Monica didn’t want her pain inhibiting her personal and professional life so she decided to undergo surgery.
Situation Today: Monica had ALIF surgery in August 2011 and walked the same day. She went home the next day because she felt great. Although Monica still can’t bend, twist, nor do any heavy lifting, she feels a huge improvement in her day to day life. She wears her back brace daily and has been walking throughout her recovery. She is cautious not to overexert herself from physical activities and is gradually working her way back to her regular routine. She plans to resume work in the next couple of weeks and looks forward to being able to get back on her quad and ride with her friends again.
“Thanks to Dr. Field, I have my life back. I’m looking forward to leading a high quality life again and getting back to the activities that I love!” -Monica