December 9, 2013

Spine surgery for sciatica helps one patient keep teaching

Neck, Back and Spine | Patient Stories

Back pain almost kept Patti Mason from the job she loves, but spine surgery for sciatica helped keep her on her feet and in the classroom.

Read on to hear Patti’s story and how her life has changed thanks to OrthoIndy spine surgeon Dr. Michael Coscia and her successful surgery for sciatica.

A history of back pain

Patti taught chemistry and physics and had to be on her feet all day long. In 1997, she began having intense pain down her leg and lower back.

Patti is the type of teacher who likes to interact with her students; therefore, sitting down throughout the day was not an option. The pain was so extreme that she had to tell her students not to worry if she collapsed in the middle of class.

Another doctor recommended that she visit Dr. Coscia at OrthoIndy. An MRI revealed that Patti had spinal stenosis. Dr. Coscia suggested having a laminectomy done immediately. A laminectomy is a surgical procedure that removes a portion of the vertebral bone to relieve pressure on the spinal cord.

Patti thought she would be pain-free forever, but in early 2010, Patti began having excruciating pain from sciatica. This type of back pain extends from the lower back down the back of each leg. Patti’s sciatica pain symptoms were so severe it was impacting her ability to walk and limiting her daily activities.

“Sightseeing, hiking, even a trip to the grocery store was painful after a few minutes of walking,” says Patti. “I’d have to sit down and rest to ease the pain. It really hindered my ability to travel overseas to visit historical places, which I love to do.”

Make an appointment with an Orthoindy spine specialist

Spine surgery for sciatica

Patti decided to go back to OrthoIndy to have an Anterior/Posterior spinal fusion surgery of L3, L4 and L5. She trusted Dr. Coscia to perform this spine surgery for sciatica.

Dr. Coscia had to make two incisions to do the fusion, remove the degenerated discs, and insert a cadaver bone. Next, Dr. Coscia inserted two titanium rods and six screws in the vertebral column to hold the spacers in place for the fusion to begin.

During the spine surgery for sciatica, he also took a bone graft from Patti’s hip to infuse the area to encourage bone growth. Finally, the two bones in the spine were permanently joined so that there was no more movement between them.

“Dr. Coscia was a very competent surgeon who took time to listen to my concerns and to discuss things thoroughly with me,” says Patti. “The week before surgery, Dr. Coscia called me to talk about my surgery. It touched me that he had taken the time to ask about my concerns.”

One of Patti’s concerns about the spine surgery for sciatica was the use of a genetically modified protein in the graft infusion because of her severe food allergies. Because of this, Dr. Coscia decided to use the bone graft from Patti’s hipbone. It meant an extra scar, but they were both assured that it would be successful.

Recovery after spine surgery for sciatica

“My life has been wonderful as I can now walk miles at a time and play with my grandchildren without the agonizing pain down my leg,” says Patti.

“If I have to stop walking, it is because I am out of breath, not because of pain. I can also do weight-bearing exercises on building bone density and strength. I am so thankful for what Dr. Coscia and OrthoIndy did for me because I am no longer in pain.”

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Coscia, please call 317.802.2874.

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us, and if you’re suffering from back pain from sciatica, our team can help. Schedule online or call us to set up an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists.

Learn more about the conditions that could be causing you pain, and find out if spine surgery for sciatica or other sciatica treatments are right for you.

If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. No referral is needed for rehabilitation and physical therapy to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000

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