Is Spine Surgery Right For You? It’s a Matter of Risk vs. Benefit

Is Spine Surgery Right For You? It’s a Matter of Risk vs. Benefit

Many people who suffer from debilitating back pain resist surgery – thanks to failed stories from years past. While surgery should be the final option after trying other non-invasive therapies, today’s success rates for spine surgery are significantly different from the past.

Take, for example, Denise Kordulak, a 66-year-old retired x-ray technician from Neptune, NJ. Years of pushing, lifting and carrying equipment and positioning patients played a huge toll on her back. Fourteen years ago, she had surgery to relieve her pain and restore the feeling in her feet. While it was somewhat successful, she never returned to normal.

Denise started walking with a hunched back. Last year, the pain became unbearable. Eventually, she lost feeling in her left leg from the knee down, and the pain migrated to her right leg. It was so bad she couldn’t stand for more than a few minutes.

Denise contacted Dr. Pinakin R. Jethwa, a board-certified neurosurgeon at Atlantic NeuroSurgical Specialists (ANS).

“When Denise came to me, she was suffering from a complex lumbar spine issue. Compression of the nerves was causing her leg pain. Degeneration of her discs was causing her back pain. And, one of the bones of her spine had slipped out of place, causing her hunched back,” Dr. Jethwa explains. “In an eight-hour surgery, we performed a multi-level spinal decompression and fusion operation.”

The parts of the bones and discs that were compressing Denise’s nerves were removed. Screws and rods were placed in the bones to stabilize and fuse the degenerated discs, and the bone that was slipped out of place was realigned into a more normal position.”

“Since then, I have been pain free,” Denise says excitedly. “I am a completely new person. I can stand up straight again, and I feel wonderful!”

“Denise actually drove herself to the office and, for the first time in years, walked in unassisted,” Dr. Jethwa adds. “She told me she has her life back.  In her case – and many others – the benefits far outweighed the risk.”

For more information about spinal decompression and fusion, contact ANS at 732.455.8225, and visit

Atlantic NeuroSurgical Specialists (ANS) is New Jersey’s largest neurosurgical practice and one of the most advanced in the country. Since its founding in 1958, ANS has specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the nervous system. Its Spine Center is known for evaluating spine disorders and when possible, treating them with innovative non-surgical and surgical treatments. ANS is changing the way patients are treated by actively participating in an outcomes database that measures the quality and efficacy of common spinal and neurosurgical procedures.

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