Spinal stenosis – Lumbar decompression
For Sheila, first it was the cane. Then the walker. Then the wheelchair. As the back pain and radiating pain down her legs got worse, she had had enough.
In April, the Cincinnati west side resident made an appointment with Dr. Lauren Ostling at Mayfield Brain & Spine. Within a few weeks, she underwent lumbar decompression surgery at the Mayfield Spine Surgery Center in Norwood. That night, she was back at home.
"When I woke up, I could walk, and there wasn't any pain," she says. "I was like, 'It's a miracle.' I have to pace myself more than I did before. But now there's a big difference. I can take care of my dogs and cats. I can keep house better. I can work outside in the yard."
For patients who can recover at home rather than in the hospital – like Sheila – the outpatient Spine Surgery Center represents a valuable option that can minimize the impact of the procedure on the life of patients and their families.
"Sheila was adamant that she wanted an outpatient procedure," Dr. Ostling recalls. "She was motivated to go home and recover there."
Sheila echoed those thoughts.
"I never want to stay in the hospital if I can help it," she says. "I always want to go home."
Sheila had already faced significant medical challenges, both with her back and other diagnoses. As far back as 2000, she had seen Dr. Hwa-shain Yeh at Mayfield for lower back pain. She also was diagnosed with head and neck cancer that impacts her speech.
Dr. Ostling first saw Sheila shortly after she joined Mayfield in April as the newest member of the region's premier neurosurgery practice. The Cincinnati native had recently returned from practicing in California. She called Sheila a textbook case of spinal stenosis that called for surgery to relieve compression in the L2-L4 levels of the spine.
Sheila's MRI showed severe narrowing (stenosis) of the spinal canal at multiple levels that was pinching the nerves to her legs and causing her pain, tingling and weakness.
"She had such classic severe symptoms," Dr. Ostling recalls. "She said, 'I just want to get back to where I can leave my house.' She was so symptomatic with neurogenic claudication that caused tingling down both legs. I just said to her, 'We're going to fix you.'"
During the surgery, Dr. Ostling was able to relieve the pressure on nerve roots in the lumbar region without destabilizing the actual spine. She said Sheila's long-term outlook is positive and she has responded well since surgery.
The surgeon and patient also bonded over their west-side roots.
"I love her," Sheila says of her neurosurgeon. "When I found out she went to Oak Hills High School, I said, 'That's the doctor for me.'"
~ Cliff Peale
Hope Story Disclaimer -"Sheila's Story" is about one patient's health-care experience. Please bear in mind that because every patient is unique, individual patients may respond to treatment in different ways. Results are influenced by many factors and may vary from patient to patient.