I first met Dr. Weinzapfel in the fall of 2009. I had been seeing one of his associates being treated for pain in my neck and arms with the right arm being the most affected. As time passed, I started losing the grip and feeling in my right hand and arm and so was referred to Dr. Weinzapfel.
I had a single interspace cervical fusion in 1985 due to a bone spur on C-5 pushing on my spinal cord. This was from an old injury in 1966 while working with farm equipment. As most of us do, I considered myself indestructible in my youth. As time passed I found out the hard way that isn’t true.
After my referral to Dr. Weinzapfel, he discussed the extent of my disc disease and arthritic spurring in my neck and surgical correction was discussed. One of the best character traits I feel Dr. Weinzapfel has is he is never pushy but he discusses with the patient options that he feels can result in the best outcome. He left it up to me to decide what I felt best for my particular lifestyle as a result of surgery. The result was a multiple level anterior cervical fusion in February of 2010 I am now fused from the 4th cervical to and including the 1st thoracic vertebrae. I was rewarded with a great recovery, no pain and returned feeling in my arms and hands!
As is with a lot of life’s problems, when you fix one another will manifest into needing resolved. When I had my workup in 1985 for my neck problems, I was told I would eventually have problems with my lower back as there was already damage evident on my exams then. Well, I had been having some problems with my lower back and right leg for several years but I didn’t understand how much until I had the severe pain in my neck fixed.
In the summer of 2011 while on a motorcycle trip, I was having a lot of pain and trouble walking, especially as I became more tired.
Upon my return home, I again found myself in consult with Dr. Weinzapfel. During this consult which followed more examinations to determine the real extent of damage in my lumbar spine, the Doctor again discussed the options I should consider as I moved forward in my life. He never pushed me into the most difficult or extensive surgical procedure, but instead led me toward a more conservative surgery that would give me a more productive and enjoyable lifestyle as a result.
In December of 2011 Dr. Weinzapfel performed a 3 level laminotomy on the right side of the lowest 3 lumbar interspaces of my spine. Doing this surgery instead of the more extensive fusion was a blessing. Once again my recovery was quick and I have been able to return to a normal lifestyle with minimal restrictions.
For me, a 61 year old man who has lived with pain resulting from injury and extensive osteoarthritis for most of my adult life, I can’t begin to explain how wonderful my experience having Dr. Weinzapfel as a surgeon has been. I have not felt this pain free for over 35 years! It’s like a new lease on life. I could not have expected a better experience or outcome from now two surgeries on my spine.