Life After Complex Spine Surgery

Tony, 58, a Boilermaker/Welder for 40 years and most recently a Trainer and Assessor in Mining, has always worked in physically demanding jobs from a young age. Enjoying an active life with a large family of now 4 adult children and 7 grandchildren, Tony’s spinal diagnosis was frightening for someone his age. 

Originally Tony underwent 4 hip replacement surgeries after an infection and had 2 disc bulges removed years ago. He was left with a foot drop on the left hand side from a damaged spine nerve which caused him to fall one day, resulting in yet another injury to his lower lumbar discs. After that Tony couldn’t walk as far as the length of his driveway as his legs were so unstable.

Tony was referred to NeuroSpine Institute and eventually it was decided that further surgery was the best way forward. That surgery involved operations through his tummy and his back to place spacers between bones, realign the spine and fix it with screws and rods to keep it in place. The squashed nerves were freed up and the whole procedure took approximately 10 hours.

Before surgery, the NeuroSpine Institute surgical team encouraged Tony to seek other opinions due to the complexity and risks of the surgery to ensure he felt confident in his choice to proceed with the operation after weighing up the risks involved. Although anxious about what life would be like after surgery, as each month passed, Tony felt stronger and more mobile.  

Tony spent a week in hospital and after the operation, the NeuroSpine Institute consultant surgeon, physicians, physiotherapists and rehabilitation physician worked collaboratively to maximise the care Tony received to ensure the best possible outcome and recovery.

12 months on, Tony has resumed nearly all of his usual activities. “Sure there are things that are hard to do, simple things like putting shoes and socks on, but I have modified everything I do to continue as normal. I still work and live on a 1 acre block full of veggie beds and fruit trees, can walk as far as I want and hold and play with my grandkids, although I can’t catch the older ones!”

Tony found the team at NeuroSpine Institute ”Very professional, making the patient’s care a priority. This is a major surgery and you want to have the best people looking after you, but after that it’s up to you to do the work to get yourself mobile again and keep moving, do all your physiotherapy and adapt this to keep doing the things you enjoy doing.“

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