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WellSpan 'miracle worker' fixes her back pain with minimally invasive procedure

WellSpan 'miracle worker' fixes her back pain with minimally invasive procedure

Kathy and John McCrae run Little Daisy's Closet, a community program that offers clothing, non-perishable food, housewares, and personal care items to those in need in Chambersburg.

But while trying to provide a better quality of life for those in her community, Kathy, 66, was losing her own, due to debilitating spine and nerve pain.

Kathy has lumbar disk disease, a painful condition resulting from the disks of her spine being bone on bone due to the loss of the cushioning between them. After suffering from back pain for more than 25 years, she had spinal fusion surgery in 2019 but it did not cure her back pain.

In fact, her pain gradually worsened. It got so bad that her mobility was compromised. She was forced to start using a walker just to get around. It was difficult to enjoy outings with her family anymore. She also was struggling to work at Little Daisy's Closet.

Finally fed up with her pain, she reached out to WellSpan Neurosurgery in Chambersburg. There she met Dr. Matthew Maserati, a man she calls "her miracle worker."

Dr. Maserati, a board-certified neurosurgeon, performed a minimally invasive procedure called a Prone Trans-PSOAS Fusion, or PTP for short, on Kathy in November at WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital. The procedure was ideal for Kathy, he notes.

"It's particularly helpful in cases where patients have had a prior fusion and allows us to avoid the significant recovery and risks associated with a second major back surgery," Dr. Maserati says.

When Kathy woke in recovery, she was amazed. She had minimal pain from the procedure. Even more amazing: her back pain was completely gone.

Kathy was discharged from the hospital a few days later. Her healing process went smoothly, and she only uses a cane as she continues to heal. She continues to be free from pain and her prognosis is that she will be able to walk without a cane very soon.

Kathy's quality of life has been restored. With no back pain, she's able to put more time into her volunteer work at Little Daisy's Closet.

"I am so happy that I was referred to Dr. Maserati. When I say he's a miracle worker, it's true. I spent 25 years suffering with spinal pain," Kathy says. "Through his expertise and skill, he saved me from that pain. I am forever grateful."

About PTP

PTP is a minimally invasive spinal procedure in which two or more vertebrae are fused via a small access corridor through the side of the abdomen. This access point enables the patient to lie face down rather than on one's side, which allows for the correction of the natural curvature of the spine to improve overall spinal alignment. Discussions with your WellSpan neurosurgeon will help decide if PTP is the best course of treatment for your condition. For some patients, medications, physical therapy, or a different surgical procedure may be the best solution.

PTP's advantages include:

  • Reduced blood loss.
  • Decreased time in hospital.
  • Bone, ligament, and muscle sparing.
  • Reduced surgery time, which reduces complications, such as from infection.
  • Reduced pain, leading to a quicker recovery and a faster return to walking.

If you're interested in learning more about innovative treatments for degenerative disk disease, connect with our nurse navigators by calling 717-812-6009, select option 2. They can answer questions over the phone and even schedule you for a consultation with a WellSpan spine care expert close to home.  

Learn more about our life-changing spine care here.