Patient Testimonials

Robert Video

Robert, age 58, history of disc herniation and previous surgeries

From a young age, Robert Golan was predisposed to disc herniation, endured two open-back surgeries in his 20s and a lifetime of intermittent back pain.  Due to nerve damage, Robert used a cane, was unable to stand fully upright, feel his toes or put weight on his ankle.  Then in August 2010 he was struck with unending, unbearable pain from his right hip to his right ankle.

When epidural injection treatments failed, Robert’s Pain Management physicians referred him to Dr. Bryan Massoud at Spine Centers of America, who identified significant damage from his spinal conditions and previous surgeries. “I read the description of endoscopic surgery and was extremely enthusiastic,” Robert noted. “It just sounded like something that was really ‘out of the box’ and would be a lot better than the traditional approach.”

Immediately following surgery, Robert’s family noticed his new upright posture. As the damaged nerves and muscles began to heal over the following weeks, the pain completely disappeared and he regained his mobility. At his follow-up appointment at SCA, when asked how he was feeling, with a huge smile, he danced in the doctor’s office -- free from pain.

Q and A with Robert Golan

Q. How are you doing today, several weeks after surgery?
A. I’m doing really well – a little sore every so often.  I can walk again almost normally.  I slumped and used a cane beforehand.

Q. Can you provide a bit of background on how your condition developed and the problem you were experiencing?
When I was 20 I had surgery for a herniated disc, and then a second herniated disc at age 28. I was predisposed to this, but the cause is unknown. (L4-5 level;  L5S1).  Since then I’ve had intermittent back problems.

Q. How were you feeling before the surgery?
A.  I woke up on the morning of August 23, 2010 with huge discomfort in my right hip and within 2 days I had a lot of pain in my lower leg, little feeling in my right foot, was unable to move my toes and had trouble putting weight on my ankle.  My pain management doctor tried direct epidural injections but there was no relief, so he recommended Dr. Massoud.  The MRI showed lots of damage and Dr. Massoud took it from there.

Q. What other procedures were you considering?
A. I never saw anyone else who recommended anything else.  Having gone thru two open back surgeries, I read the description of endoscopic surgery and was extremely enthusiastic.  It just sounded like something that was really out of the box and would be a lot better than the traditional, “cut him open and hope he heals”.  My previous surgeries took 2-3 months in order to feel better and regain strength.  Back then, both provided relief from when I went in.

Q. When did you feel relief from your recent condition?
A. Not during surgery. When I got home that day, the first time I got up to walk, my wife and daughter said I looked straighter already.  It took a good two weeks to get the feeling back.  I was still pretty sore in my hip, then all of a sudden I woke up two weeks later and said I didn't feel the pain anymore.  It took a few weeks to heal.  He had to work in two different  areas to take out parts of two herniated disc, scar tissue and bone chips from a previous surgery.

Q. How do you feel today?
A. Today my back and hip feel tremendous.  My legs are still a bit weak, possibly from nerve damage that occurred prior to surgery.  I’m going to physical therapy 3 times per week.  I was back at work on November 15th, 3 weeks after surgery.

Q. What can you do now that you couldn’t do before?
A.  I can climb up and down stairs almost normally.  My balance isn’t great due to weakness in my legs (from unrelated leg and ankle problems).  Stairs are no problem now.  I am retraining the muscles in legs. I have no pain, can put my own shoes on.  I could drive before but it was tough, and now I’m back to what I was before the problem. 
I had dropped out of getting my masters in History at Rutgers before the surgery, and now I’m going back to the program on January 18th.

Q. Have you experienced total relief or can you quantify the percentage of relief?
A.  It is 90% better than before.  And that’s good.

Q. Would you recommend SCA to others?
A. Absolutely

Q.  What have your previous doctors said about your results?
A.  My primary care doctor and my physical therapist recommended Dr. Massoud.  The doctor who runs the physical therapy actually recommended someone else to Dr. Massoud recently based on my results.

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Joyce Video

Joyce, herniated disc

A herniated disc left Joyce in constant pain and unable to  function normally.  With no other options after months in physical therapy and pain management trying to avoid surgery Mack decided to have an endoscopic discectomy, a minimally invasive spine surgery procedure. She walked out of surgery pain free -- wishing she hadn’t waited so long to have endoscopic spine surgery.

Edward Video

Edward, age 55, bulging disc injury

Edward Wahl suffered a back injury while helping to lift a heavy appliance.  After six months of severe sciatica pain and several failed treatments that made it difficult to even get out of bed, Edward’s doctors told an open-back, spinal fusion surgery would be necessary.  Having seen his wife endure the difficulties of a similar operation and discovering new endoscopic procedures as a potential alternative, Edward cancelled his spinal fusion surgery and sought a second opinion from Dr. Bryan Massoud at Spine Centers of America.

The surgeons performed a successful endoscopic foraminotomy to repair Edward’s two bulging discs.  “By the end of the surgery, I had no pain at all. I walked out of the surgery on my own. Now, two weeks later, I go walking at the mall and have no pain.  I am 100% better.”

Q and A with Edward Wahl

Q.  Please give us a brief overview of the situation that brought you to Spine Centers of America and Dr. Massoud.
A.  I had an operation planned for spinal fusion on December 22nd with Dr. Dorsky.  Later I went on line and saw how invasive it was, and 3 days ahead of time I canceled it.  I found Spine Centers of America on line.  When I found out I was going to be awake (for the procedure) I was panicked and wondered how I could be awake, but it was not bad ,as I has previously thought.  They touched nerves and I could feel it and it was absolutely amazing.

Q.  Can you provide a bit of background on how your condition developed and the problem you were experiencing?
A.  I work for Home Depot, and was helping a customer load a refrigerator when I heard something pop in my back.  A month later I got pain down the back of my legs.  By a month and a half later, the pain was unbearable.
I went in for an MRI and was told I had two bulging discs (l4 & l5) pressing on the nerve, which was causing sciatica.  I was off work for 6 months.  The doctors did 4 nerve blocks and I had 8 weeks of physicial therapy but it didn’t work.  I went back to work on light duty, and then went back to working in appliances, on my feet.

Q. How were you feeling before the surgery?
A.  The pain was so bad I couldn’t walk and couldn't get out of bed by myself and I knew I had to do something.  Another x-ray showed that the discs were slipping, and my doctor recommended spinal fusion.  I came home afterward and looked online.  I read about fusion and I didn't want to go through it.    My wife had a past surgery for a herniated disc and still has problems and scars, and I didn't want that so I called and cancelled it.   Another doctor (I spoke with) downplayed the option of minimally invasive surgery and doubted it would be successful.  I called Dr. Massoud and set up an appt., and researched him online.

Q. What made you call Dr. Massoud?
A. I was very impressed by everything I read about how Dr. Massoud traveled around the world to learn about the surgeries.

Q.  What did you experience when you came to Spine Centers of America?
A.  Dr. Massoud told me “Currently you don’t need the fusion – maybe some day you will, but this can help you now.  Let’s give it a shot.”  I was very impressed by how nice everyone in the office was.  They calmed me down and the anesthesiologist told me what would happen.  I talked to everyone during the surgery.

Q. How have you felt since the surgery?
A. I haven’t had pain in my leg at all, and had only a little pain in my back from surgery, but zero pain in my legs, the sciatica is gone.

Q. When did you first feel relief?
A.  The weirdest part is that 3 days ahead of time, the pain went away because sometimes it goes away when you know you’re going to have an operation.  The pain came back before the operation, but not as bad as it was originally.  I had to stay off my feet and when I got up it came back, so I spent 3 days off my feet.  I couldn’t even go to the toilet by myself.  While in surgery, I would feel the pain start and stop. By the end of the surgery I had no pain at all.  I walked in and walked out of the building (on my own).

Q. How did you feel right after the surgery?
A.  It was a big difference

Q.  How did you feel 2 weeks later?
A. I thanked the doctor, I had 100% relief.

Q. What can you do now that you couldn’t do before?
A.  I can do a lot.  I went to the mall to go shopping and had no pain.   I have lost a total of 120 lbs. and now weigh 275.

Q. Would you recommend SCA to others?
A. I have been so impressed that I shared the information with my pain mgmt doctor I have been with him 11 years, and took over a handful of Dr. Massoud’s cards.

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Alison Video

Alison, lower lumbar. Back to Life Profile:  1st Grade Teacher, Age 47, Herniated Disc

Alison couldn't stand for more than two minutes before sciatica pain and numbness shot through her lower back and leg due to a herniated disc. Anxious about surgery but in excruciating pain, Alison needed somebody she could trust.  “Minimally invasive spine surgery was something Dr. Massoud had done a lot, while others I talked to didn't know it was an option."  

Alison walked into Spine Centers of America in brutal pain and walked out of surgery on her own.  In her words, "I felt great, there was no more pain at all.”  She was back in her first grade classroom in one week.

Marian Video

Marian was in a car accident and had severe neck and back pain

Listen to her amazing story of recovery after the surgery...

Francisco Video

Francisco. Back to Life Profile: Age 48, Cervical Injury

Francisco’s car was rear ended, and he soon experienced severe upper back and shoulder pain -- “a 9 on a scale of 10,” Franscisco said. “Nobody likes to be injured and neck surgery is a delicate procedure, but Dr. Massoud explained what needed to be done, which made me feel more comfortable."  Post-surgery, Francisco adds, "I felt great, and today the pain is completely gone."

Michelle Video

Michelle, Back to life Profile: Wife who's husband had back trouble

Before surgery, "my husband couldn't walk, couldn't move, and I was scared out of my mind,” Michelle said.  “Dr. Massoud took the time to explain everything to us and was very reassuring.  Her husband's back injury was a long, hard road that has been made better by the doctors at Spine Centers of America.

Julio Video

Julio, car accident injury.  Back to Life Profile: Age 30, Lumbar Injury

Julio was injured during a severe rear impact auto collision that caused extreme pain and numbness in the lower half of his body. A lifelong athlete, Julio found himself unable to walk without assistance. "Dr. Massoud explained everything and drew it out for me, and I learned how minimally invasive spine surgery could relieve my pain within the same day,” comments Julio. “I felt good that I was not totally 'put under' for the procedure. After surgery I could feel everything go back to normal."

Julio has experienced life-changing pain relief following lumbar discectomy surgery. He calls Dr. Massoud and the physical therapy doctors who worked together on his behalf  “the Dream Team.