Following a ski accident, I began experiencing leg cramping pain that was eventually diagnosed as sciatica over the course of three years. I was only able to walk for about 7-8 minutes at a time. I have a 15-minute walk from the train station to my office every day and I had to take breaks just to make it there and back. I was treated with epidural injections for about a year and they were effective, but then stopped working. Eventually, I had an MRI that showed two bulging discs. I was referred to a local surgeon who recommended surgery involving the fusion of two vertebrae. After doing some research, all of my findings led me to SpineCare of NY and HSS and I was convinced that this was the best spinal team and facility in the world. As an avid skier in the winter and a casual hiker in the summer, I needed to know that I would be able to make a full return to my activities after surgery.
From the first time I met Dr. Hughes I felt very comfortable with him and, above everything else, I was treated with the utmost respect, which I greatly appreciated. During my first appointment, he took the time to describe what the MRI revealed and explained to me why I needed three vertebrae fused and not just two. A model of the spine was used to show me in detail what the procedure entailed. We talked for quite a long time. I had many questions and may have asked a few twice. The manner in which he was able to articulate his answers, along with his patience, reassured me and gave me the comfort level I needed to proceed with this surgery. I had complete confidence in Dr. Hughes.
I have had a few other minor surgeries in the past from sports-related injuries. However, I was very worried about this surgery since it was so invasive in nature. Although the recovery was hard, it took a little over a year for me to completely recover, in retrospect it was actually a wonderful experience thanks to Dr Hughes and his team. From surgery to recovery and follow-up appointments, it was overall a smooth process. At my one-year visit, I still wasn’t completely recovered, but Dr. Hughes reassured me I was still healing, and I would get better. He was right – soon after that I was fully recovered, and it was all worth it. It has been five years since my surgery, I’m back to being an avid skier and casual hiker and I haven’t had any issues.
For anyone that may be facing a similar situation, I want them to know that there is hope. My surgery was a complete success. I have nothing but good things to say about Dr. Hughes, HSS and the entire process.