New artificial disk procedure helping people with neck and back injuries

By: Erica Rakow Email
By: Erica Rakow Email

Panama City-- In February, Florida Highway Patrol officer Tammy Tindle-Husar suffered severe neck and back injuries in a car accident on Back Beach Road.

"My arms went numb. My hands went numb. I couldn't lift anything more than 10 pounds off the ground. Obviously I couldn't work, I couldn't wear a gun belt," said FHP Trooper, Tammy Tindle-Husar.

Three different doctor's told the 27-year veteran trooper she'd never work again. Husar was devastated.

"Basically what I was looking at was a life sitting on the couch taking painkillers. And I was very unhappy about that," said Tindle-Husar.

But Monday, Husar was all smiles as she reunited with the doctor's who helped her beat the odds. Doctors at Bay Medical Center removed the herniated disc and implanted an artificial disc into Tammy’s neck. They say it's a better alternative to standard spinal fusion.

"While spinal fusion for herniated disc in the neck is widely accepted, a widely performed procedure, it does have some drawbacks," said Neurologist at Bay Medical Center, Cyril DeSilva.

Those drawbacks include months of recovery and future repeat surgeries.

"I felt immediate relief. I thought maybe it was just the good stuff they were giving my in the IV but when I woke up that evening in my room, the pain was gone," said Tindle-Husar.

She was back on the road in less than two weeks.

"Last night I worked a full shift as a regular police officer as I was told i would never do again," said Tindle-Husar.

The surgery takes less than an hour and a half. Dr. DeSilva says the ideal patient is in their 30's or 40's, a non-smoker and has only one damaged disk in their neck.

Dr. DeSilva is the only surgeon who offers the procedure in our area.


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  • by Leroy Location: Fl on Aug 2, 2011 at 11:45 AM
    Yeah that's great but I think a few of us are wanting to know if he only offers the procedure for neck injuries or can he do the same thing with the lower back?
    • reply
      by AL on Aug 3, 2011 at 01:01 PM in reply to Leroy
      I know the same company that manufactures the artificial disc was doing clinical trials on a lumbar artificial disc a few years ago. I dont know if that one has received FDA approval yet. I would say, give his office a call. He is a nice guy, and i have not heard anyone speak negatively of him or his surgical abilities.
  • by tammy on Aug 1, 2011 at 09:47 PM
    I WISH I COULD HAVE HEARD THIS ABOUT EIGHT MONTHS AGO. I INJURED MY BACK AND I AM A SIXTY YEAR OLD WOMAN. NOW I AM DISABLED. I WISH THEY GAVE ME ANOTHER WAY .AND I STILL HAVE PAIN. AND CANT WORK.
    • reply
      by AL on Aug 2, 2011 at 12:47 PM in reply to tammy
      Sometimes it depends on the Dr. Not all of them keep up to date with the latest advancements. Sometimes it depends on the patients' health, age, location of injury. I know a person who had neck surgery using the fusion method, 9 months after the surgery he had to have it redone because his body was rejecting the artificial bone implants used. The second time they used bone from his hip, and it healed really well.
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