Patient Success Stories

Spine Surgery - Cervical | Spine Surgery - Lumbar | Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery | Artificial Disc Replacement - Cervical

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

M-L-D spells end to many years of back & leg pain

back to activity after spine surgery montana, dr gus varnavasAudrey started having back and leg pain about 10 years ago. Through the years, her pain would come and go and she would take anti-inflammatories to help relieve her symptoms. Audrey tried other non-surgical care options to help relieve her symptoms — including chiropractic care and physical therapy. The chiropractic caredid offer some temporary relief, but her leg and back pain would always return. As the years went by Audrey noticed her pain symptoms becoming more constant and intense.

Simple activities like standing, walking and washing the dishes were becoming difficult. Working in the yard was becoming impossible. The chiropractic treatments were no longer helping with her symptoms at all.

Audrey’s chiropractor referred her to Dr. Gus Varnavas, a fellowship-trained neurosurgeon because of his specialization in spine. She made an appointment with Dr. Varnavas and at her appointment the neurosurgeon ordered diagnostics of her spine.

After reviewing the diagnostics, Dr. Varnavas talked with Audrey about the treatment options for her condition — a herniated disc at L5-S1. Because of her spine condition and the fact that she had tried conservative care for many years, Dr. Varnavas talked with Audrey about the spine surgery options. This included a minimally invasive procedure called Microscopic Lumbar Discectomy, also known as the MLD procedure. “During MLD, a small incision is made to remove the damaged portion of the herniated disc and relieve the pressure on the nerve root. This relieves the associated leg and back pain. Using a minimally invasive approach, can mean shorter hospital stays and quicker return to activity,” explains Dr. Varnavas.

Audrey knew she wanted to get back to her normal lifestyle and couldn’t continue to live with the increasing pain symptoms and reduced activity. After careful consideration, she decided to move forward with spine surgery. “Dr. Varnavas helped me feel at ease that I was making the right decision for my treatment,” she remembers.back to activity after spine surgery montana, dr gus varnavas Dr. Varnavas and his office made certain Audrey knew what to expect before, during and after the surgery.

Dr. Varnavas performed the MLD procedure to remove the damaged portion of the herniated disc. After surgery, Audrey felt immediate relief from her leg and back pain symptoms. She was careful to follow the post surgery instructions and able to stop taking pain medicine within three weeks of her surgery. Audrey attended six weeks of physical therapy where she learned special exercises to help her regain muscle strength and flexibility. She still incorporates these exercises into her routine.

Today, Audrey has returned to her normal activity level — including walking and working out at the gym. She is relieved to be free of the back and leg pain that was a way of life for many years.

Click here to download Audrey's story as a PDF, new window will open.



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Need an Appointment?

Gus Varnavas, MD — at Community Hospital of Anaconda — specializes in the treatment of back and neck pain and strives to help people return to activity. Request an appointment with Dr. Varnavas in his office in Anaconda, MT.