Patient Profile

Pat

Profession: Health Care
Doctor: Kushagra Verma

Briefly describe your symptoms and the medical condition that brought you to see the doctor.

In May 2016 I began to notice back and leg pain bilaterally. Within a month after the symptoms began I was using a cane in order to walk, and had a severe limp and weakness on my left side. I consulted the orthopedic surgeon who did my hip replacements in 2012, and he felt that the hips were not the problem, but said that I have arthritis, nerve constriction and scoliosis. He pretty much concluded that surgery would not help, and recommended physical therapy, I tried that with no real improvement for two months. My pain continued to worsen, and by December I needed two canes to walk. I was totally miserable. By January the pain had reached the point that I seldom left the house. I was only comfortable lying on my back, spending most of my time in bed.

I consulted a neuro surgeon who explained that I needed surgery on both my cervical and lumbar spine, and that it would require three surgeries, minimum. I then got a second opinion from Dr. Kushagra Verma, who confirmed the need for surgical correction. He could see no need for more than two surgeries, was extremely compassionate, and patiently explained everything that needed to be done and why. He was so much more personal than the neurosurgeon and both my wife and I were immediately confident in his knowledge and professionalism. My two fusion surgeries were done in February and March 2017. I have gone from having constant, intolerable pain (about 11-15 in a scale of 1-10), and am now essentially pain-free after 3 1/2 months post-op. I am walking without a cane, and building strength with twice-weekly PT sessions and daily workouts at home. No more chronic pain, although I still have a ways to go to rebuild the muscle mass that I lost in the months when I was unable to walk or exercise.

What one or two things stand out to you about your experience with your doctor and their team?

I was immediately impressed and comfortable with Dr. Verma and his staff. It was obvious that the doctor was 100% committed to my success and well-being. He explained the surgery and expected results in great detail and everything went as planned. My recovery has been uneventful. I knew going in that it would take months to fully recover, and I would need to work hard to regain full strength. This is happening as I was told it would. Dr. Verma has been very supportive.
Additionally, the staff was great. They worked quickly to get my insurance approved and get scheduled for surgery in a short amount of time. With the pain level I was dealing with, sooner was better.

What can you do now that you could not do before surgery? Have you been able to return to your hobbies or sports at the same level as pre-injury or at an even higher level?

I can sit, sleep, drive a car for hours, walk with minimal back pain, none of which I could do prior to surgery. I am confident that in a few more months I'll be walking normally and totally pain free. Chronic pain is a real downer, and freedom from pain is bliss.

What advice would you like to share with a patient with a condition such as yours who is considering surgery?

Total recovery takes time. You'll need to commit to working diligently to rebuild lost muscle and coordination. As soon as your doctor approves it, get into a physical therapy program and work hard on your own.

You'll also need a caretaker for the first few weeks post-op. Treat them with patience and kindness. They will definitely earn it as they help you through initial phases of recovery.

Please share any additional comments!

You'll be in good, caring hands with Dr.Kushagra Verma and the Department of Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at the University of Washington.