Former university lecturer from Leeds can walk again after life-changing spinal surgery

A former university lecturer from Leeds is able to walk again after life-changing spinal surgery in the city.

By Daniel Sheridan
Friday, 21st January 2022, 4:30 pm

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After three and a half years of agonizing back and leg pain, Sylvia Crosland, 79, was unable to walk more than a few steps and her quality of life was deteriorating rapidly.

However, after life-changing spinal surgery at Spire Leeds Hospital, she walked out of hospital with ease and completely pain-free.

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After three and a half years of agonizing back and leg pain, Sylvia Crosland, 79, was unable to walk more than a few steps and her quality of life was deteriorating rapidly.

Sylvia has significant underlying health problems presented a big challenge to the surgeon.

She said: “I was in constant pain since I broke my pelvis three and a half years ago.

"I tried physio and aqua mobility classes plus taking steroids, pain relief injections and wearing patches for Sciatica, but the pain was worsening. I couldn’t even walk to the car and felt I couldn’t carry on.

"Yet I faced a dilemma.

"I faced the prospect that having a spinal procedure might present serious risks during surgery due to having had a stroke and two heart attacks previously from anaphylactic reactions.”

After doing some research she was referred to Deb Pal, consultant neurosurgeon at Spire Leeds Hospital.

She was diagnosed with degenerative lumbar disease with nerve root compression at two levels in her lumbar spine.

Sylvia said, “Following X-rays and an MRI scan Mr. Pal discussed with me in detail the surgical procedure he would perform and my underlying health problems.

"However, having weighed up all the information I decided I wanted to go ahead. It was important to me to have the opportunity to get my life back under control.”

Mr. Pal said, “Sylvia’s medical history meant she had a serious risk of having heart issues during or following surgery.

"Yet without surgery her symptoms would continue to worsen."

Sylvia underwent a procedure in September 2021 for lumbar hemilaminectomy and decompression.

This involved making a 3cm incision in the middle of her back.

The muscles were separated away and the back of the spine was exposed.

A tube was then inserted from one side and the bones at the back of the spine on that side were removed.

The thick tissues under the bone which were pressing on the nerves were then separated gently from the nerve using a microscope.

The disc was also shaved to create increased space around the nerves.

The two-hour operation restored her mobility and her independence.

She was able to walk with a frame the next day and returned home a few days later. Just three weeks after that she was able to carry out daily activities and has now started driving again.

Mr. Pal said: “The results were even better than expected and the benefits were apparent almost immediately following surgery. Sylvia now has her life back and should remain mobile and pain-free.”

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