R.G. | December 16th, 2015
Hi! If you’re reading this then you are probably where I have been for years in excruciating pain and looking for that elusive answer to make it all go away. First I have no affiliation to Dr. Katzmans office and not receiving anything in return for this review. I typically do not do reviews for products or services but when asked if I could share my experience I almost felt obligated to help people like me. I am 44 years old and have been dealing with neck pain for over 10 years with no relief. As most of you, I have been to multiple doctors, different medicines, chiro treatment and the repeated answer to fuse all disc as we cannot do anything else or just deal with it on meds. I knew one thing a 3 level fusion was not the way I wanted to go so I waited and waited for something new. Finally earlier this year I couldn’t take it anymore so I searched for disc replacements and all about the doctors who performed it.
Like I said I typically don’t do reviews so this may be long winded but I am going to write this as if I was a reader and what would I have liked to have known before moving forward. So after finding Dr. s office in a news article and he had an office down the road from me, I did some more direct research on that office and felt comfortable to contact them.
I contacted the Dr’s office to see what the next step was and I will warn you this seems to go a little unorthodox to my history scheduling appointments but please continue to the end for the full experience. They didn’t ask me for an appointment, they first wanted to get my MRI’s before anything. I said ok I have recent ones and I will drop them off (no appointment, no money spent). They said someone would contact me after the MRI review and let me know if I was a candidate for ADR. I’m thinking that’s cool they want to review before me spending money or wasting anyone’s time in appointments. So I receive a call and said I was a candidate and that now one of the staff doctors would call and explain everything I need to know and answer any questions. I got on a call with one of the Dr’s around 8:30pm and he went over everything including the diagnosis, artificial discs, the procedure, FDA disc approvals, insurance etc.. We talked for almost 1 ½ hours and exhausted all questions or concerns, pro and cons, basically everything we could think of. He sent emails with pictures and articles during the call that helped explain and visualize stuff. He was extremely nice, helpful and made me feel real comfortable about everything related to the procedure but didn’t push anything! He said think everything over, call or email with any more questions and just let us know which direction you want to go. After that I spoke with one of the medical staff about insurance and what was covered and what could be done. Based on insurance it was decided to do one artificial disc C4-5 and 1 hybrid fusion C5-6. For those wondering about the hybrid fusion, look it up it’s not a typical fusion, it has no screws or plates and I thought it would be fine at the 5-6 level for me; its similar in design to an artificial disc. I went ahead and scheduled surgery for about 1 ½ months later. A few weeks later I got some cold feet thinking I still haven’t seen a doctor or visited an office and this is a major surgery. So I contacted the office and they with no hesitation said we can make an appointment to meet Dr. Katzman and go over everything, it was all my choice. I elected to speak with the prior doctor I spoke with on the phone just to refresh everything before I made that visit. I spoke with him and again I felt at ease and decided not to go in for an appointment. I figured meeting the doctor wouldn’t give me anymore information then I already had and didn’t see the point but the option was there. With years of doctors and medical visit relating to this and my long conversations with the doctor I didn’t feel another appointment was necessary. I’ll get to the surgery next but I had to throw that in this review as it seemed an unusual process but I actually felt more comfortable with them and about the surgery then previous 10 years of doctor’s visits that come into am exam room, talk down to you and leave in 3 minutes and collect a copay for nothing while telling you to deal with it or do what they want you to do.
Now the day of surgery I was scheduled for 8:30AM and was there at 7AM for paperwork, vitals etc.. Nurses there were great and really make you the center of attention and feel comfortable. I finally meet the doctor and again he talked to me about what was happening, questions or concerns, really anything on my mind. It would take about 1 hour each disc and with recovery I should be released by 12-1pm same day. I was out by 12:30 and sleeping at home by 1:00.. After I woke about 2 hours later I felt great! No pain, wide awake and energetic. My throat was sore to swallow like a typical sore throat but from the tube I assume but none the less I still had a nice steak dinner with ease. I rested a bit and probably shouldn’t write this but we took a slow walk and by the end of it we walked about 2 miles but did it because I still felt great. No pain, little stiffness but moved cautiously not to bother anything. The first night sleeping is rough laying down that you almost have to sit up to avoid the pain of holding up your head and that continues for the week. Find a recliner chair as lying flat is really not an option. Ok so here’s the best part, definitely sore for the first week but NO pain of any kind even close to from prior surgery and continued to improve with every day. Four weeks in and still slightly sore as expected and pain level from 1-10 at a 1 or 2 but more discomfort stiffness pain rather than nerve pain. Skipping ahead to 2 months and still feeling great. Prior surgery pain still has not returned and feeling normal with still some stiffness and slight ache lower part of neck probably because not doing anything yet. While I am writing this it is now my 3 month anniversary and I feel like the surgery was the best thing I did. I still do have that slight ache maybe 10 percent of the time with some morning stiffness a bit but I have started exercising lightly 1-2 times a week, not pushing just stretching and using body weight cautiously. Really since week 2 I have had no limitation with turning my head from side to side but only a slight loss looking straight up, that could be stiffness, lack of flexibility or its permanent but in any case it’s completely acceptable to me as there’s no pain.
So overall I have to say I am so glad I did the surgery! In just 3 months it has changed my life quality better than the past 10 years. I am really a completely different person, No pain, I’m happy and people around me even notice this. The Center for Artificial Disc Replacement [family of services through Orthopedic and Laser Spine Surgery] with its staff and doctors was in no doubt the best choice I could have made. If you took the time to read this I hope it helps you pursue looking into this, everyone’s body is different but now you know results like this is possible. Like I said earlier in the review the process to get to the surgery was different then I was use to with standard doctor offices but different is sometime better and this absolutely was the best experience! From educating me to billing to surgery to just treating me like a human to help and not a paycheck, I’m glad I found them to help me!
Thanks to all the staff at the Center for Artificial Disc Replacement for everything! You will never really know how much of my life you gave me back!
Special thanks to Lisa and Dr. Woods for all the extra time they spent on me!
RG –Palm Beach, FL
Victoria Mackin | October 4th, 2016
Hard to believe it has been two years since my life-changing neck surgery at OLSS. I took a leap of faith and made the trip from Kentucky to Florida to undergo a state-of-the-art procedure with Dr. Oppenheimer. I can’t thank all of the physicians, nurses, and staff who worked with me enough. I feel fabulous, after living in pain for seven years!