Patient Success Stories

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

Lumbar Spine Surgery

Back to work without pain after surgery for a severe spinal curve

back to activity after spine surgery montana, back to activity after scoliosis surgery montana, dr gus varnavasCandy’s work as an attorney requires that she remain active. Though she had experienced back and hip pain for many years, Candy did not let the pain get in the way of remaining active. She would occasionally take anti-inflammatories to help with her pain symptoms.

It was near the end of August when Candy’s pain symptoms became so severe that she could barely walk. Her condition was interfering with her normal lifestyle — work was becoming difficult and she could barely walk half a block without needing a break. Walking up the stairs to the county courthouse was impossible. Candy went to her general practitioner for relief. Her doctor took X-Rays of her spine and the results showed that her spinal curve (also known as scoliosis) was worsening.

Adult scoliosis is a combination of spinal deformity and degenerative disc disease. As the spinal discs degenerate they become more brittle, less resilient and more prone to herniation. Damaged discs can result in the vertebrae collapsing on top of one another, this places pressure on the nerve roots that branch off from the spinal cord. The pressure on Candy’s nerve roots was causing her severe back and leg pain symptoms.

Candy’s doctor prescribed pain medication and suggested a cane to assist her with walking. Her doctor also referred her to Dr. Gus Varnavas because of his expertise in complex spine problems. Candy knew she could not continue to live with the reduced activity level and the need for daily pain pills.

She scheduled an appointment with Dr. Varnavas, a board-certified and fellowship-trained spine neurosurgeon. At her appointment, Dr. Varnavas reviewed her medical history and ordered diagnostics. After viewing the MRI results, the neurosurgeon next discussed with Candy the surgery necessary to treat her condition. She was hesitant to have surgery but also wanted to return to her life without constant pain.

Dr. Varnavas performed the staged Lateral Interbody Fusion procedure in March and it was a success. “My recovery from surgery was not easy because the surgery was extensive. My symptoms now are much improved and I no longer need pain pills,” Candy reflects. She started physical therapy in May, during her physical therapy sessions she learns exercises to help strengthen her spine and make it more resistant to future injury. Pool therapy is also part of her recovery.

Candy has returned to her career as an attorney and she no longer needs a cane to walk. She can even climb the stairs at the county courthouse again. “Dr. Varnavas helped me be at ease about the spine surgery, he described the procedure and what to expect after surgery. The staff has been wonderful, they made sure I was prepared for my surgery. I’m happy to be back to work and back to a more active lifestyle,” Candy says.

Click here to download Candy'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.