Michele Grow usually looked forward to her five-mile walk, but in a short span of weeks, her body began revolting after walking less than half a block.
“The pain in my back and leg and the cramping in my foot felt so severe – and nothing would make it go away,” Michele explained. “Pain medicine couldn’t even touch it.”
Pain would shoot down her back and radiate through her leg, settling in her right foot. Michele described the pain as consistent, unbearable … and familiar. More than a decade before, she suffered a similar experience – though on the left side of her body. That had resulted in back surgery.
Michele dealt with the progressive pain for more than six months, until she couldn’t take it any longer.
The first steps toward relief
Browsing online, Michele came across a physician bio for Kade Huntsman, M.D., orthopedic surgeon at the Utah Institute for Robotic Surgery with St. Mark’s Hospital. The bio detailed the surgeon’s specialized expertise and his focus on conservative and surgical spine treatments. Something about it felt right.
“When I read it … it’s hard to explain, but I just knew he was the doctor I needed to see,” Michele said. “I’m glad I did. He’s so smart and explained things clearly. He started talking about what he’d do and the robotic arm, and I was sold.”
Quick hospital stay. Long-lasting results.
During a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, Dr. Huntsman identified three herniated discs and a pinched nerve. He recommended a lumbar fusion and decompression procedure using the institute’s innovative robot-assisted surgical system.
The state-of-the-art surgical system contains high-resolution 3D cameras for superior vision and a robotic arm that moves microsurgical instruments with perfect precision. The surgeon remains the chief mastermind during surgery. The robotic-assisted system simply provides enhanced visibility and empowers scaled and minute movements.
The minimally invasive, robotic-assisted technology benefits patients in many ways, including:
- Smaller incisions
- Less scarring
- Minimized pain
- Decreased complications
- Shorter hospital stays
- Quicker recoveries
For Michele’s surgery, Dr. Huntsman removed the rods and screws from her initial surgery and used the robotic arm to perfectly place six new screws after decompressing her damaged spine. The surgical system provided Michele’s MRI and imaging results, which Dr. Huntsman used to customize the placement of the new screws, based on her unique anatomy.
“I was prepared to stay three days at the hospital, but I felt so good that I went home after just one day,” Michele said. “They had me up and walking that very afternoon.”
Why suffer? Pain-free days are possible.
Three months post-surgery, Michele was walking around her neighborhood again. She quickly got up to 1.5 miles as she worked toward her previous five-mile routine, and she resumed her career at Salt Lake Community College.
She says she feels stronger, more confident, and is pain free. She even has words of wisdom for those dealing with daily, devastating back pain: “Don’t wait. There’s no point in being in pain for years when we have doctors and technology that can make it better. I can testify that these surgeries can fix you.”