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Amy Dossey – Anterior Cervical Diskectomy and Fusion Success Story

Amy Dossey dives into a pain free life after an ACDF spine procedure at Methodist Richardson eliminates nerve pain

Amy Dossey skydiving.From the winter 2011 edition of Shine magazine

Sharp pains, numbness, and a tingling sensation were only a few of the symptoms that interfered with young professional Amy Dossey's busy life of travel and work as a certified public accountant.

"The pain started in my left shoulder and progressed into numbness and tingling in my left hand, followed by my right hand," Dossey says. "My profession involves being on a computer most of the time, and numbness in my fingers made it very difficult to do my job."

Dossey thought perhaps she had pulled a muscle on a trip to Canada and decided to see her primary care provider to investigate further.

"I tried muscle relaxers, physical therapy, and steroid injections, but the pain and numbness persisted," she adds. She then decided it was time to see a specialist.

"My doctor and I chose Brent Morgan, MD, because he is ahead of the curve with neuro-related surgery and his reputation gave me a lot of comfort," she says.

Amy DosseyTaking the next step

Dossey's visit with Dr. Morgan, an independently practicing neurosurgeon on the medical staff at Methodist Richardson Medical Center who specializes in minimally invasive techniques for treating disorders of the brain and spine, revealed that she was a candidate for a surgical procedure called anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion (ACDF).

"ACDF is a common, standard procedure, and I have had excellent outcomes," Dr. Morgan says. "ACDF is for someone who has been experiencing nerve irritation and has been through all of the conservative treatments. Seventy-five percent of patients get the problem from wear and tear, and it just comes on over time."

Here's how ACDF works: The surgeon approaches the cervical (neck) spine from the front and removes the herniated or degenerative disk. After the disk is removed, the vertebrae above and below the disk space are fused together with bone graft .

Right for you?

Among the many advantages ACDF offers patients, Dr. Morgan cites the risks the procedure avoids: permanent injury, limitations performing everyday tasks, and addiction to and side effects caused by pain medications.

"Talk to your doctor first about treatment options," Dr. Morgan says. "I tell my patients to try conservative treatments first, and if they have progressive weakness and there is a risk for permanent injury, I recommend surgery."

Dr. Morgan adds that if you need surgery, make sure you fi nd a neurosurgeon who is experienced and well trained in the procedure.

Deep relief

Dossey says she experienced pain relief almost immediately after surgery. "I was off pain medication three days after the surgery," she says. "I'm three months out, and I have no residual effects of the nerve being pinched. I feel great."

Dossey is excited to have her active lifestyle back. She enjoys adventurous hobbies, such as sky diving and scuba diving, which have allowed her to travel to many wonderful locations.

"Now that my pain is gone, I plan to book a scuba diving trip soon," she says.