“I Have No Pain Now, And I Can Walk Again With No Problem. I’d Recommend This Surgery With Dr. Vaynman For Other People With This Problem.”
ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NY – Twenty years as a New York City police officer took their toll on Gregory Slator’s back.
His low back pain progressed to the point where he could barely walk, and standing up straight was next to impossible. He describes his pain, which radiated down his right leg, as like an “electric shock” – and as a “10” on a 10-point scale. He tried everything – pain killers, muscle relaxants, steroid injections – but his pain and disability only got worse. Although still a young man of 50, pain dominated the life of Mr. Slator, a Long Island father of two.
Fortunately for Mr. Slator, a neighbor recommended that he see spine neurosurgeon Artem Y. Vaynman, M.D., F.A.A.N.S. Dr. Vaynman is an attending neurosurgeon with Neurological Surgery, P.C., the New York region’s premier neurosurgical private practice, and Co-Chief of Spine Surgery at Mercy Medical Center, Rockville Centre, NY.
“The weakness on Mr. Slator’s right side was significant,” says Dr. Vaynman.” He had three disc herniations in his lower spine that were actually causing him to lean to the side, and making him limp. Mr. Slator is young, and otherwise healthy and fit. This was interfering significantly with his quality of life.”
When Mr. Slator saw Dr. Vaynman in January 2013, the doctor told him that he had two options: continue with steroid injections (which were not solving the problem), or get surgery.
“Dr. Vaynman went right in and told me what needs to be done,” says Mr. Slater. ” I didn’t have to think too long about this. I decided that I didn’t want to be like other people I knew, taking drugs for years but getting no relief. There was no getting around it.”
Dr. Vaynman scheduled the surgery for March 8 at Mercy Medical Center: a three-level decompression and fusion. Spinal fusion helps restore disc height and immobilizes vertebrae to stop motion at painful joints and reduce any unnatural pressure on the neighboring nerve roots. These treatments uses surgical implants and natural bone graft material that is placed between vertebrae after the surgical removal of the damaged intervertebral discs. In healing, the graft material grows in the disc space, joining the two vertebrae together, effectively eliminating the painful motion.
Although full fusion of his spine will take about two years, Dr. Vaynman says that Mr. Slator can go back to most of the activities he enjoyed before he became severely debilitated. He has already gone back to coaching baseball.
“His spine is almost fused now, and he doesn’t have back or leg pain,” says the doctor.
Dr. Vaynman points out that many surgeons do not routinely do three-level decompression and fusion, because it can take a longer time to recover from, and the techniques necessary for successful outcome became available only recently. He has had great success in doing this procedure in cases like Mr. Slator’s.
“This procedure addresses the problem completely,” he says. “If you do a less extensive procedure such as a laminectomy in a case like this, the patient will be far more likely to require a second surgery.”
“I’m glad I got this surgery,” says Mr. Slator. “All things considered it’s a success, and I’m very happy with how things turned out. I have no pain now, and I can walk again with no problem. I’d recommend this surgery with Dr. Vaynman for other people with this problem.”
Dr. Vaynman is a board-certified neurosurgeon with special expertise in complex spinal surgery, minimally invasive spinal surgery, and 3-D spinal navigation. He has extensive experience in spinal fusion, including new minimally invasive techniques. Dr. Vaynman treats a variety of spine problems, such as degenerative scoliosis, spinal stenosis, compression fractures, back pain, herniated discs and sciatica.