Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Helps Marleen Do The Things She Loves

A back injury or back pain is no fun, and sometimes it can be downright debilitating. Marleen Brack, Grant and Contract Administrator for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, experienced a sudden onset of severe back pain in May 2006.

“My low-back and sciatic pain were so bad that I would sometimes black out, especially trying to stand up after lying down,” she says. “I had difficulty sleeping and suffered from intense sleep deprivation. I’ve never had pain like that in my life. I’m not a pill-popper but had to take pain medication just to get through each day.”

Dr. Chad Prusmack, a neurosurgeon at Sky Ridge Medical Center, diagnosed Marleen. Her L4 and L5 lumbar vertebrae were pressing on her spinal cord. To make matters worse, a cyst was growing on the opposite side, so spinal cord nerves were getting pinched. Dr. Prusmack recommended minimally invasive spine surgery to reposition those vertebrae, fuse them with titanium screws and bolts, and remove the cyst.

“I have children, I have grandchildren, and I wanted to enjoy the second half of my life,” says the 51-year-old Marleen. So, in August 2006, she underwent her surgery at Sky Ridge Medical Center and was home three days later. She was especially pleased that, instead of a lengthy incision down her back, the procedure only required two one-inch inci- sions on either side of her lumbar spine. During her recovery, Marleen remained goal-driven.

“I followed Dr. Prusmack’s orders and did the back exercises and physical therapy, and I limited my activities for a while.” She was back to work full-time in six weeks and was determined to be golfing again in six months.

Marleen is thrilled with her results. “I’m ecstatic about how things turned out and have no plans to slow down any time soon. I can ride my bike and work out at the gym, and I played my first round of golf less than a year after my surgery. Dr. Prusmack really came to my rescue. Honestly , I have no pain whatsoever and no limitations. I think I might take up skiing!”