Spine Center Patient Stories
At NYU Langone’s Spine Center, our patients receive care from orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons who are leaders in their fields. Our patients share their success stories after treatment.
Connie’s Story About Discectomy for Herniated Lumbar Disc
“The doctor told me, ‘You deserve to be doing what you want to do, and this surgery and recovery plan will help you get there.’”
—Connie, Age 30
An avid runner and CrossFit® enthusiast, Connie was used to pushing through discomfort. So for nearly a decade after a weightlifting injury, she used yoga, massage, and chiropractor visits to manage the pain of a herniated disc in her lower back.
But after her second child was born, the pain became unbearable. “One day I just couldn’t get out of bed,” she says.
It was then that she made an appointment with Dr. Erich G. Anderer of NYU Langone’s Spine Center. An MRI confirmed the diagnosis of herniated disc, and Dr. Anderer recommended discectomy—an outpatient surgical procedure—to remove the portion of the disc that was pressing on a nerve.
After having to use a wheelchair to enter the hospital, Connie walked out the evening of the surgery. “I was a new person,” she says. Just three weeks later, she was back at the gym.
Several months after surgery, Connie is thrilled to be able to lift weights and pick up her two children again. “The fact I can do what I can right now, it’s just amazing,” she says. “I feel very healthy.”
Alice’s Story About Reconstructive Surgery to Correct Severe Kyphosis
“My posture changed immediately—people who saw me couldn’t believe the difference.”
Over the years, severe kyphosis had caused Alice’s spine to curve forward, giving her a hunched-over appearance. The condition, while not painful, made performing everyday tasks—bending, reaching items on tall shelves, and even looking up—difficult.
Alice, who is a sister in a religious community, went to several doctors. “They all told me nothing could be done, that surgery was too risky at my age,” she says.
Then Alice learned about another sister, a few years older than Alice, whose kyphosis was successfully treated by surgeons at NYU Langone’s Spine Center. Feeling hopeful, Alice met with orthopedic spine surgeon Dr. Aaron J. Buckland at the Spine Center. Dr. Buckland performed several imaging tests, including MRI, CT scan, and X-rays, and then told Alice that he could correct her posture. A few months later, he performed Alice’s back surgery at NYU Langone’s Kimmel Pavilion.
The procedure changed Alice’s perspective on life—literally. “When I first sat on the edge of the bed three days after surgery, I was able to look up and see the ceiling. That was a different experience!”
Back home, Alice is now able to see and reach items she hadn’t been able to previously, from the thermostat on the wall to the top of the mirror in the bathroom. “It has been a big epiphany,” she says. “Dr. Buckland said that he could straighten my spine—and he did. I’m standing tall now, and I’m so grateful.”