September 18, 2023

Riding to Victory: Dressage Judge Overcomes Odds with Successful Back Surgery 

Exercise | Neck, Back and Spine | Patient Stories

Ken Levy, a nationally licensed dressage judge, competitor and instructor, had an intense journey with OrthoIndy that led him to an unexpected yet triumphant road to recovery. Little did he know that a routine visit for an MRI would unveil a pressing need for surgery, setting in motion a series of events that would redefine his path to wellness.

At 73 years old, Ken brings with him an impressive background, having retired from Roche Diagnostics in 2012 and worked as an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the IU School of Medicine through 2019. However, his heart and soul belong to the art of dressage, which focuses on fostering a partnership, requiring flexibility, and balance with a horse. This passion not only defines him but also forms the backbone of his family business.

Trouble began with a subtle twinge in his back, a mere hint of discomfort that Ken initially brushed aside. But as time passed, the pain grew relentless, making even the simplest movements agonizing. The once restful nights now became restless, as sleep eluded him, leaving him longing for relief. Fortunately, fate stepped in through Ken’s long-time friend, Dr. Randolph, who introduced him to the exceptional care of OrthoIndy. Although no stranger to hospital visits due to surgeries for both he and his wife, this time, Ken would be under the attentive care of Dr. Craig McMains, a specialist in his field.

The pivotal moment arrived when Ken sat with Dr. McMains in the examination room, anxiously reviewing the MRI results together. The intensity in the doctor’s gaze reflected a deep sense of

responsibility, and he spoke plainly when expressing his concerns. “I don’t know if I should rush you to the hospital for emergency surgery right now or if we should wait until morning,” Dr. McMains remarked, prioritizing Ken’s well-being more than anything else. “Ken was put into a tough situation but came out with a great outcome,” McMains said, “This was because of the timely surgical intervention and leveraging a minimally invasive approach to allow for a faster recovery. When I was looking at his case, I asked myself ‘how would I treat my mom or dad if they had this problem?’ All my patients are a VIP to me – I just want to do what is right for them.” 

The diagnosis unveiled a worrisome development, hinting at the potential loss of bladder control and the use of his legs—a fate no one would willingly embrace. Despite the gravity of the situation, both Ken and Dr. McMains were ready to face the challenges ahead. However, challenges obtaining insurance approval for the surgery created serious concerns. Luckily, his fears were alleviated by Dr. McMains’ reassuring that there were contingency plans, a gesture that demonstrated Dr. McMains commitment to providing the best care possible in a timely manner. “With all the stories about declining patient focused care, I valued Dr. McMains clear focus on my clinical needs. That means more to me than anything,” Ken expressed, appreciation for the doctor’s genuine care and commitment to his successful recovery.

With insurance approval in hand, Ken’s surgery proceeded seamlessly, and the results surpassed all expectations. Astonishingly, within a day after the procedure, Ken was up and moving with newfound freedom. Physical therapy was unnecessary, and merely six weeks later, he was back in the saddle, riding horses with an indomitable spirit and not a hint of discomfort. OrthoIndy’s exceptional care had brought Ken’s passion back to life, stronger than ever.

“Without a doubt, if you ever need any type of orthopedic care, OrthoIndy is the way to go!” he exclaims enthusiastically. And indeed, we wholeheartedly agree. Ken’s journey stands as a testament to the power of dedication, skill, and unwavering passion, all of which found their perfect match in the care provided by OrthoIndy.

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Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our  OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations  for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to  see one of our physical therapists

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