At the age of 44, Michelle had been experiencing pain in her shoulder for 18 months when an MRI revealed bone spurs that were pinching the nerve and causing neck and arm pain. She then came to Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates for help.
After conservative treatment proved ineffective in relieving Michelle’s pain, surgery was the next option to consider. Because she was so young, an artificial disc procedure was recommended instead of a spinal fusion. With the artificial disc procedure, a one-inch incision is made through an anterior approach to the neck. The diseased disc is removed and the artificial disc is inserted. Michelle underwent the procedure and was home the next day. She returned to work about two weeks later.
Within a year of her surgery, Michelle completed her group fitness certification, Zumba certification and kickboxing certification. Now she teaches fitness classes five nights a week with some weekend classes.
“Before the surgery, each day was full of pain and uncertainty,” said Michelle. “This surgery has changed my life.”
When her son, Charles, woke up and could not feel his left side, Margaret pictured her family changing forever. As a nurse, she knew her son’s condition was serious, and called 911. Three years later, Charles is living a full life, from pitching in a Little League game at Cooperstown to playing violin at Merlefest. Best of all, he is able to enjoy and share each day with his family.
When Margaret and her 10-year-old son, Charles, arrived at the hospital on the morning of August 9, 2013, pediatric neurosurgeon Scott Wait, MD, of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates was on call.
The intracranial pressure was so high that not all of the necessary diagnostic testing could be immediately performed on Charles. The doctors and staff managed his symptoms until they could get answers. Dr. Wait determined that Charles had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) that had ruptured.
Dr. Wait performed a craniotomy for the resection of the AVM and removal of the hematoma. Craniotomy is the most common surgical procedure used to remove an AVM. During surgery, an opening is made in the skull and the natural clefts in the brain are accessed for the AVM to be removed in the most minimally invasive way possible.
“I wasn’t sure if my son would live through the day,” said Margaret as she reflected on that August morning. “I never imagined we would be happy, smiling, running around the world again. Now we are, and I’m so very grateful.”