Spine Surgery Patient Gets Relief from Neck Pain | Loyola Medicine
Thursday, December 4, 2014

Loyola spine surgery patient gets fast relief after years of severe neck pain

'I went home the next day and felt absolutely great'

MAYWOOD, Ill. (Dec. 4, 2014) –  After suffering years of severe neck pain, Debbie Yuss, RN, decided to see Loyola University Medical Center spine surgeon Alexander Ghanayem, MD.

As a worker’s compensation case manager, Ms. Yuss had seen firsthand the results Dr. Ghanayem achieves in treating spinal problems.

“I knew just how good he is,” she said.

Dr. Ghanayem performed a two-level spinal fusion at the base of Ms. Yuss’ neck. “I went home the next morning, and felt absolutely great,” she said.

Video: Watch Debbie Yuss describe her recovery. 

Ms. Yuss injured her neck after falling from her roof while clearing snow. She tried various therapies over the years, but the treatments provided, at best, only temporary relief.

The pain radiated down her neck, shoulder and arm, and it was debilitating. "There were times when I felt like I would want to cut my shoulder off,” she said. “I would come home from work and go straight to bed. I couldn’t do anything. It was ruining my social life.”

The pain was caused by arthritic, herniated disks that were pushing against spinal nerves. To relieve this pressure, Dr. Ghanayem performed an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. Approaching through the front of the neck, Dr. Ghanayem first removed the arthritic and herniated disks, which sit between the two vertebrae. He then inserted a bone graft into the space where the disk had been. The vertebrae grew together, or fused, into a single unit.

Dr. Ghanayem performed a two-level fusion, fusing the C4 and C5 vertebrae and the C5 and C6 vertebrae.

Dr. Ghanayem has performed thousands of spine fusions. “It’s a great operation, when it is done on the right person for the right reason at the right time,” he said.

Dr. Ghanayem is Loyola’s Director of the Division of Spine Surgerys and Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He is a professor in the departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Neurological Surgery at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Dr. Ghanayem’s specialties include the surgical care of neck (cervical spine) and back (lumbar spine) problems and related spinal disks, nerves and bones, and teaches the art and science of spine surgery, both nationally and internationally.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.