Michael Carr is a 39-year-old telephone lineman from Depauw, Indiana. When he was struck with mysterious shoulder numbness and arm pain that seemingly came about overnight in May of this year, he sought the opinion of his trusted primary care doctor, Reggie Lyell, MD, a Corydon-area family medicine physician.
Dr. Lyell described Michael’s condition at that time, “When Michael came to see me for the first time about his neck and arm numbness, he was experiencing some significant discomfort, so we took some routine X-rays in the office that actually turned out normal. Based on this finding, I decided to move forward with conservative treatment, including anti-inflammatories, muscle-relaxers and exercises to perform at home. However, when he came back a week later with even more pain than before, I knew we were dealing with a much bigger problem that needed to be addressed as soon as possible.”
“Outcomes such as Michael’s are exactly why I continue to refer my patients to the Baptist Health Floyd Spine Center. They’re able to offer a multi-disciplinary team of specialists with proven conservative and aggressive treatment options, all in one convenient location. Plus, I’ve worked with the physicians at the Center for many years, and they’ve earned my trust. I know when I send a patient to them; they’re in excellent hands.”
Reggie Lyell, MD
Board Certified Family Medicine Physician
Harrison Family Medicine
Dr. Lyell continued, “I scheduled him for an MRI, which revealed a large disc herniation in his cervical spine, or neck. Discs are essentially round, flat cushions between the vertebral bones that form the spine. They act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae and help keep the spine flexible. When one of these discs becomes damaged, they may bulge or rupture, pushing on the spinal canal and pinching the nerve. The result is typically pain, numbness or weakness in the neck, shoulder, arm and/or hand, which is what Michael was experiencing. I knew he needed to see a specialist at that point, and decided to refer him to the Baptist Health Floyd Spine Center.”
Michael Doyle, MD, a neurosurgeon with the Spine Center, knew that immediate attention was needed as soon as he met Michael and observed his obvious pain and discomfort. “Michael was holding his arm and rubbing his shoulder continuously in search of some relief. I gave him some basic tests and determined that his reflexes were seriously diminished and he was experiencing some concerning weakness in his grip and wrist extensors. His MRI revealed one of the largest herniated discs in the cervical spine that I’ve ever seen. It’s rare that I suggest that a patient jump straight from diagnosis to surgical correction without trying nonoperative treatment options first, but Michael’s obvious pain, combined with the severity of his symptoms, called for immediate attention. He agreed, and we were able to schedule him for surgery two days later.”
“Michael’s case is a good example of how we’ve set up the Spine Center to operate in a way that allows us to be extremely flexible with our scheduling and get urgent patients in for consultation and treatment as soon as possible. Only two days passed between his first appointment and his surgery. It’s really important to us to get our patients back on the road to recovery as quickly as possible.”
Michael Doyle, MD
Board Certified Neurosurgeon
Baptist Health Floyd Spine Center
Dr. Doyle explained the procedure that was performed. “Michael underwent an outpatient surgical procedure known as Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion, which involves making a small incision in the front of the neck to access the cervical spine. The affected disc and herniated fragments are then removed and replaced by bone graft that will slowly fuse the vertebrae together over time. A plate and screws are then inserted to stabilize the vertebrae during the fusion process.”
As Michael put it, “The pain and numbness were gone as soon as I woke up from surgery. I couldn’t believe it. I was in the operating room at 7 a.m. and home pain-free by 3 p.m. The entire process couldn’t have been smoother. I was amazed at how quickly they were able to address my problem and have me back on the road to recovery. I was off work for five weeks to recover since I have such a physically demanding job, but I’ve been back for a while now and haven’t had any issues at all other than some numbness in the tips of my fingers, which should eventually go away. I’m definitely grateful to Dr. Doyle and Dr. Lyell for seeing how much discomfort I was in, and making it their priority to have me back to my life as soon as possible.”
A herniated disc may bulge or rupture, pushing on the spinal canal and pinching the nerve. The result is typically pain, numbness or weakness in the neck, shoulder, arm and/or hand causing obvious pain and discomfort to the patient.
Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion
Call (812) 949-5933 or 1-877-487-5933, or visit www.baptisthealthfloyd.com/spine to learn more about treatment options available at the Baptist Health Floyd Spine Center.