Amanda Martino lights up when she talks about finishing college. Her brother Matthew talks about his love for sport shooting as he walks their dog Harley. Both Amanda and Matthew were worried they may never be able to do either activity, as they endured the agony of herniated discs.Amanda suffered with severe sciatica to the point where she couldn’t sleep and had lost most feeling in both legs.
With herniations at her fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae, Amanda had a discectomy surgery elsewhere several years prior to manage her condition, but didn’t see much improvement. Facing a spinal fusion, Dr. Sandro LaRocca, director and founder of New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, suggested a second discectomy. The second surgery was effective, and Amanda found huge relief.
Dr. Sandro LaRocca, director and founder, New Jersey Neck & Back Institute“I saw several doctors who didn’t want to do a fusion because I was in my early 20s and Dr. LaRocca performed an anterior fusion, which relieved the pain and I gained the strength back in my legs,” she said.
“I was able to go back and finish college, stand for more than 10 minutes, go for walks and all kinds of things I couldn’t do previously because of my sciatica,” she reflected in describing the improvement in quality of life after the surgery.
Matthew was living with two disc herniations at his fourth and fifth lumbar and the pain was unbearable. After conservative methods didn’t work, surgery was the best option. Dr. LaRocca performed a discectomy and afterward, the searing pain and discomfort was nonexistent to the degree that Matthew was playing baseball as soon as four months afterward.
“I was worried I would never play baseball again,” Matthew said. “But after I went to NJBI, things couldn’t have gone better and now I play baseball effortlessly.
”The siblings were appropriately concerned their quality of life was going to be permanently compromised, but like thousands of people living with severe sciatica, they were excellent candidates for a discectomy and didn’t know it. When patients fit the profile and protocols are followed, the surgery outcomes are excellent as demonstrated by this brother and sister. Even if someone had a surgery before, there can be additional surgical options.
At NJNBI, each case is reviewed to find the fastest and healthiest way for surgery to put patients’ lives back on track. Neck and back surgery are options to consider when everything else has failed. However, an evaluation with Dr. LaRocca can result in a recommendation for a treatment plan that includes non-invasive methods prior to any surgery. When those do not work, it’s time to consider a procedure.
If you have a disc herniations and sciatica has persisted for more than six weeks, make an appointment today at NJNBI. Bring your images, which NJNBI can help you obtain or Dr. LaRocca can order new scans. NJNBI staff will discuss surgical options with you together and make an informed decision together. Chances are you will be happy you made a life-changing appointment — just like Amanda and Matthew, two young people with their whole lives ahead of them in which they can now participate fully.
For more information about possibilities that may benefit you or a loved one, contact New Jersey Neck & Back Institute.