Bringing Movement Back Through Spine Surgery

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Neurosurgeon Nathaniel Brooks stabilized Wes Bailey's spine with a minimally-invasive fusion technique.Madison, Wisconsin - Wes Bailey has had an action-filled life.


From his early fascination with gymnastics through his childhood experience as a tumbler in a travelling YMCA group to his work in the ski patrol, flexible movement has been critical to the activities that are important to him.


That's why his struggles with leg pain and other issues this year came as such a shock to his lifestyle.


"I guess all those physically taxing activities may have accumulated and messed up my spine," Wes said.


He ended up talking with neurosurgeon Nathaniel Brooks, MD, at UW Health hoping to fix the problem and get this tumbler back to being able to move more pain-free and effectively.


By the time he came in for diagnosis, the problem had actually twisted his body so much that he could not even lie down or fit into the MRI scanner.


The solution was minimally-invasive spinal fusion using screws for straightening and fusing of the vertebrae for stabilization.


"The new guidance systems enable us to accomplish wonderful things for people with spine problems safely and with small incisions. In most cases, they can start walking right away and begin the healing and strengthening process," said Dr. Brooks.


Wes is thankful for all the UW Health physicians, nurses and therapists who have contributed their time and expertise to enable him to walk in the woods again. He graduated from intense physical therapy to home exercises and continues to rehab his legs as the nerves regenerate.


"I am still hoping to walk on my hands again for my upcoming 77th birthday or soon after. For sure, I will be able to do the cartwheels on my front lawn that neighbors have often seen me do," Wes said.


Due to the proper diagnosis and expert care at UW Health, he is happy to be on his feet - and hands - again. 

Date Published: 11/15/2013

News tag(s):  neurosurgerynathaniel p brooks

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