Research conducted by doctors at The University of Kansas Hospital helped keep a man from undergoing a risky and painful procedure to fix his broken neck.
Barry Joe Richard (pronounced Rih-shard) was two days away from having surgery on his back that he hoped would ease the pain he’s lived with for most of his life. But while walking his dog, he tripped and fell, breaking two bones in his neck. That postponed the back surgery, and forced him to wear a big neck collar, the kind you see paramedics use when putting someone on a gurney.
His original surgeon advised Richard to undergo a procedure that would stabilize the broken neck, but would severely limit his mobility for the rest of his life. So he sought a second opinion from doctors at the Marc A. Asher, MD, Comprehensive Spine Center at The University of Kansas Hospital. Dr. Paul Arnold, a spine surgeon, told Richard that the latest research shows patients with his type of injury who wore a neck collar for six months had just a good a result as those who underwent the procedure right after the accident. Since Richard had already worn the collar for six months, Dr. Arnold told him he could stop wearing it, and tests showed the broken bones had already healed. That cleared the way for Dr. Arnold to surgically implant screws in Richard’s lower spine, which has made a huge difference in his life by eliminating most of his back pain.
In the video, Barry Joe Richard talks about the first time he came to the spine center and met Dr. Arnold, how he felt after the back surgery and how it went way beyond what he was hoping for.
Dr. Paul Arnold talks about what research has shown about broken necks, why only ten percent of back patients really need surgery and what advances he’s seen in spinal treatment in the last 20 years.