I had been suffering with sciatic pain for a few years, visiting chiropractors and having adjustments and acupuncture. Finally, the pain got so severe that I visited a competent orthopedic office in Columbia, SC. After extensive testing the determination was made that I needed surgery with hardware (screws). Before surgery, they advised an epidermal should be done to no relief. I got a second opinion from a well-known sports Orthopedist in St. Petersburg, FL. He recommended surgery and didn’t think screws would be necessary. One hears so many horror stories I was frightened.
My oldest son, employed by AIG (previously CV STARR), consulted the company doctor for advice. The AIG doctor recommended Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. I had to wait quite a while, but got an appointment. By that time the pain was so bad I couldn’t bear to even sit on the toilet without crying out. And I’m one of those 1937 Yankees that don’t do that. I saw Dr. Cammisa and went through the intensive and thorough testing done at HSS before any surgery. Dr. Cammisa told me he didn’t see the need for hardware, but he would use bone for fusion (not from my body however). In August 2004, I had surgery. The most discomfort (other than breathing regimen) was nausea from the morphine. The staff was considerate, I never had any infections and my healing went forward. Since the surgery over 10 years ago, I have resumed my busy active lifestyle of swimming, snorkeling, volkswalking 5-10K, driving the 1250 miles from Fl to Ct. by myself, and traveling abroad. In 2013, I joined a France Bike and Barge trip, biking 25-30 miles a day for a week. I know for sure that I would not be where I am without HSS. I have two neighbors with more recent back surgeries, one had a cage that slipped and was back in surgery within 10 days the other has had 5 surgeries (Boston), his wife travels and socializes without him as he is always in severe pain. I have suggested he go to HSS.
I won’t lie and say I never have pain. I do, BUT it is intermittent depending on how much I “push the envelope” and manageable. I know my life would not be what it is without HSS and the professional quality therein
A couple of years or more after surgery I slipped and fell on ice. I was afraid I had ruined the fusion. I called into HSS and was seen shortly thereafter. Tests were run and Dr. Cammisa personally saw me to assure me all is well with the surgery he had done.
If I need surgery again, I would hold out to go back to HSS.