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Giving Patients Their Life Back

Spinal Fusion Surgery

Posted on March 27, 2012 and filed under Stories.

Christian Dembeck is one happy camper. Justa few short months ago, the avid outdoorsman from Mt. Airy was in extreme pain and could barely walk or sleep. Now, thanks to spinal fusion surgery performed by Raymond Haroun, M.D., at Saint Agnes Hospital, Dembeck is walking miles a day and getting his life back.

Dembeck, a 40-year old-husband, and father of two little girls, started having lower back and leg pain more than 10 years ago when he slipped on ice. He initially was diagnosed with a pulled muscle. A few years later, he says, “I felt a little pop when I turned to get into my truck.” Two surgeries at another local hospital to separate a ruptured disc from a nerve didn’t solve the problem, or relieve the pain. “My leg hurt so bad, there were days I couldn’t get out of bed.” Dembeck says he was prescribed various pain medications, but nothing helped. That’s when his pain management doctor recommended Dr. Haroun, a spine surgeon with advanced training in complex spine surgery.

Dr. Haroun looked at images of Dembeck’s vertebrae, and suggested spinal fusion surgery.  It’s extensive surgery reserved for only the most severe cases. Bone grafts are placed around the spine, and rods and screws are used to stabilize the area.

“We discussed the pros and cons with Dr. Haroun. He has a great bedside manner, and gave my wife, Heather, and I the information we needed to make our own decision,” recalls Dembeck.

Dr. Haroun performed surgery last November, and Dembeck remembers, “When I woke up, I immediately noticed the pain in my leg was gone. That never happened with the other surgeries.”

He says the nurses also did a great job of responding to his every need and speaks glowingly of the “gentle giants” in occupational therapy, who taught him the right way to move and protect his spine.

This year, Dembeck is looking forward to spending more time with his family, and camping in Western Maryland. “I don’t wake up in the morning with back pain the way I did before. I can sleep on my back now. I haven’t done that in 10 years.”

For more information about the Orthopaedic and Spine Institute at Saint Agnes Hospital, click here or call 1-866-690-9355.

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