Patient Success Stories

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

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Traveler back on the road with minimally invasive spine procedure.

minimally invasive spine surgery montana spine surgeonDiane was rearranging furniture one day when she started feeling some back and leg pain on her right side. At first, she didn’t think too much of the pain and took some NSAIDs for relief. Unfortunately, Diane’s symptoms persisted. She also began feeling numbness and tingling in her right leg that radiated into her left.

Diane tried chiropractic care which offered some temporary relief of her symptoms. Meanwhile, her symptoms continued to worsen and her daily lifestyle was becoming more limited to the point that even standing and walking were difficult. Diane wanted to return to her active lifestyle, including traveling with her husband.

One morning, Diane woke up and was unable to walk because of weakness in her legs, causing her to go to the Emergency Room for help. Afterward, Diane visited her family practitioner who ordered an MRI of her spine. After viewing the results, her doctor referred her to Dr. Gus Varnavas, a fellowship-trained neurosurgeon.

Diane made an appointment with Dr. Varnavas. Dr. Varnavas talked with Diane and her husband about the condition that was causing her symptoms. Diane had spinal stenosis caused by a small synovial cyst, along with radiculitis. Dr. Varnavas then talked with her about the treatment options for her condition.

He suggested they try some non-surgical options first. Dr. Varnavas prescribed some oral steroids with the goal of relieving Diane’s symptoms enough that she could begin physical therapy — which could help with long term relief of her symptoms. Unfortunately, the oral steroids did not work and her symptoms continued.

Dr. Varnavas next talked with Diane about a minimally invasive option to treat her spine condition known as MicroLumber Discectomy (MLD). Instead of a 3-inch incision in the low back, a trained spine surgeon can access the disc through a 1-inch incision with a tiny cannula the width of a ball-point pen.

minimally invasive spine surgery montana spine surgeon

Diane was eager to get back to her active lifestyle and decided to move forward with the minimally invasive surgery. “I was impressed with Dr. Varnavas and the office staff. They were very helpful and responsive, this helped me to know I was making the right decision,” Diane remembers.

Dr. Varnavas performed the MLD procedure on Diane in the morning and she went home later the same day for recovery. Diane was able to walk and move around almost immediately. As part of her recovery, she learned some special exercises in physical therapy that she still incorporates into her lifestyle.

Today, she is happy to be free of her leg pain, numbness and tingling. “I have a little back stiffness when I first wake up but it goes away with movement,” Diane says. She is not limited in activity at all and Diane and her husband are looking forward to a long road trip this spring.

Click here to download a PDF of how Dr. Varnavas helped Diane return to activity after spinal stenosis.



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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.