After more than a decade and a half of suffering from back pain, radio talk show personality Scott Sloan had tried nearly every type of non-surgical treatment. Physical therapy? It didn’t work. Injections? They didn’t last. Pain medication? It only masked the problem. Finally, he thought enough was enough. He was ready to be rid of the persistent spasms and painful throbbing. “Standing for 10-15 minutes became difficult,” recalls the host of “The Scott Sloan Show” on AM station 700 WLW. “The ongoing pain was diminishing my quality of life.”
During a vacation in Italy, Scott’s back pain detracted from the experience by forcing him to focus on where he was placing his feet, rather than the scenic views and historic buildings. “When I realized I was staring at the ground instead of enjoying the trip – that cemented my decision (to pursue surgery),” he states.
A lifelong athlete, Scott’s spine had multiple fractures attributable to a combination of genetic predisposition and repetitive high impact activities. Dr. Ian Rodway, a spine surgeon at Beacon Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, clarifies, “It’s a common condition in which bones slide apart, and it can lead to arthritis, degenerative disc disease and back pain. Despite undergoing therapy, weight loss, medications and injections, Scott’s pain continued, so we turned to surgery.”
Dr. Rodway recommends non-surgical, more conservative treatments first. In most cases, patients are able to recover fully without an operation. Unfortunately for Scott, none of the numerous conservative treatments resulted in long term relief.
In January, Scott underwent an anterior and posterior L5-S1 spinal fusion under Dr. Rodway’s expertise. The procedure is quite complex, requiring a vascular surgeon to perform an incision on the front (anterior) of the body. The fractured disc is then removed from the spinal column. A plastic spacer disc is used to replace it and maintain the space between bones. This spacer allows the bones to fuse together into one solid bone, eliminating the problem of a fractured disc altogether.
Once this procedure is performed from the anterior incision, the patient is turned over. A second incision is made on the back (posterior) of the patient to allow the placement of screws and rods to facilitate the bone fusion.
Scott Sloan was able to get back on the green in early summer. As he began playing, he realized that he was finally free from his back pain. Prior to surgery, Scott’s back pain was so severe that he was hoping for a 50 percent improvement in function. Dr. Rodway assured him “with great certainty” that he would be able to function at 100 percent following the recovery.
Scott Sloan is very happy with the results, saying that he was able to return to the microphone shortly after the operation. He is now living without back pain after about 16 years of disappointing results from non-surgical options. “Dr. Rodway and the entire team…were fantastic,” he summarizes.
To read the article as published in UC Health’s “Discover Health” Magazine, please click here.