After suffering years of severe neck pain, Debbie Yuss, RN, decided to see Loyola University Medical Center spine surgeon Alexander Ghanayem, MD.
As a worker's compensation case manager, Ms. Yuss had seen firsthand the results Dr. Ghanayem achieves in treating spinal problems.
"I knew just how good he is," she said.
Dr. Ghanayem performed a two-level spinal fusion at the base of Ms. Yuss' neck. "I went home the next morning, and felt absolutely great," she said.
Ms. Yuss injured her neck after falling from her roof while clearing snow. She tried various therapies over the years, but the treatments provided, at best, only temporary relief.
The pain radiated down her neck, shoulder and arm, and it was debilitating. "There were times when I felt like I would want to cut my shoulder off," she said. "I would come home from work and go straight to bed. I couldn't do anything. It was ruining my social life."
The pain was caused by arthritic, herniated disks that were pushing against spinal nerves. To relieve this pressure, Dr. Ghanayem performed an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. Approaching through the front of the neck, Dr. Ghanayem first removed the arthritic and herniated disks, which sit between the two vertebrae. He then inserted a bone graft into the space where the disk had been. The vertebrae grew together, or fused, into a single unit.
Dr. Ghanayem performed a two-level fusion, fusing the C4 and C5 vertebrae and the C5 and C6 vertebrae.
Dr. Ghanayem has performed thousands of spine fusions. "It's a great operation, when it is done on the right person for the right reason at the right time," he said.
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