UPMC Passavant’s innovative spine program is a regional leader in the treatment of complex back and neck problems. Located in the UPMC Outpatient Center on Perry Highway in Wexford, the UPMC Passavant Spine Center brings together experts from multiple specialties to provide comprehensive care in one convenient location.
For 15 years, Bob Loftis endured on-and-off sciatica pain that made it difficult for him to walk. The Bridgeville resident usually ‘toughed it out,’ waiting for the pain shooting down his leg to subside.
But last fall was different: the pain never went away. The normally active retiree and avid Penn State football fan could barely move. For three consecutive home games, he drove to State College to tailgate with family and friends but couldn’t walk into the stadium to watch the games.
“The pain was unbearable,” says Bob. “One night, I was on my hands and knees crying while crawling to the bathroom.”
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A Dangerous Condition
He sought help at an urgent care and a local emergency room, but the pain continued. A visit to a chiropractor brought some relief, but the pain quickly returned. At the urging of his chiropractor, he made an appointment with Matt El-Kadi, MD, PhD, FACS, chief of neurosurgery at UPMC Passavant and director of the UPMC Passavant Spine Center.
An MRI showed that Bob’s sciatic pain was caused by a herniated disk. It also revealed a dangerous large bone fragment that could lead to bladder and bowel dysfunction. It also could potentially lodge in his spine and cause paralysis. Dr. El-Kadi recommended immediate surgery to remove the bone and repair the disk.
“Most patients can be treated successfully with conservative measures, such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medicine, and injections,” says Dr. El-Kadi. “We always start with the least invasive approach to alleviate pain, weakness, or numbness without surgery. But in this case, surgery was essential.”
Bob agreed. “Dr. El-Kadi put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Everything will be fine.’” Bob said.
A Grateful Patient
On March 19, Bob underwent surgery at UPMC Passavant’s surgical pavilion, where three state-of-the-art operating rooms are used exclusively for spinal surgery. He returned home that afternoon.
“I immediately noticed the tingling, numbness, and pins and needles feeling in my leg were gone,” says Bob. “It was like magic.”
Within weeks, Bob was free to resume his activities. He was soon working in his yard, doing edging and spreading mulch.
“I’m 100 percent better, pain free, and I can do anything I want,” says Bob. “I’m so grateful to Dr. El-Kadi and all the staff at the UPMC Passavant Spine Center. They gave me my life back.”
For more information about the UPMC Passavant Spine Center or to schedule an appointment, call 724-720-4500. Telemedicine appointments also are available.
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About Spine Health
Back pain is common for many people, and it often doesn’t last long. However, others may deal with long-lasting spinal pain that affects their quality of life. At the UPMC Program for Spine Health, we are experienced in treating a wide range of spinal diseases. We diagnose and treat various conditions of the spine, including degenerative disorders, deformities, tumors, injuries, and more. We use surgical and nonsurgical treatments to offer the best way possible to treat your condition, and our research seeks to find the most advanced treatment options. We hope to improve your quality of life. To learn more, visit our website.