"Six months after my neck operation, I have my life back."
Ron tells us about his experience with Mr Rohit Shetty after a tingling sensation in his fingers led to neck surgery.
My story starts around three years ago, where I began to notice a tingling in my fingers. It started out as a faint feeling in both hands, which steadily grew in sensation.
I'm quite a dextrous person and use my hands a lot; I play music and love to cook so this was becoming a bit of a problem. This new tingling would mask the sensitivity in my hands and often things would slip from my hands. When I went for a swim, I would feel a different sensation in the palms of my hands and, whilst it was never painful, I knew the 'buzzing' feeling wasn't right.
I was also struggling with my posture. Being tall, this is easy to explain away but my wife told me that I was starting to resemble my father! I monitored all my symptoms for a few months, all the while being quietly concerned, I may have a neurological issue.
I visited my GP and, after her own examination, she ordered blood tests to rule-out underlying issues such as diabetes, as well organising a brain scan to rule-out tumours. The scan looked at my head and showed no abnormalities. My sister-in-law, a Consultant Rheumatologist, advised that I get my neck scanned, and that I absolutely need to make an appointment with a doctor who looks at the spine and neurological issues. She recommended a Consultant, Mr Rohit Shetty, at Schoen Clinic Orthopaedic and Spinal Hospital London.
I had an online consultation with Rohit, where, reassuringly, my issue seemed to be quite obvious to him. He said that he suspected a disc in my neck had dried out significantly, due to wear and tear, but we'd need to do further tests to confirm this.
Soon after, I went to the hospital on Wigmore Street for an MRI scan. I was sitting in the quiet and peaceful waiting room of the scanner when Rohit came to introduce himself, and explained to me what would happen next. Soon after the scan, he collected me and took me to the consultation room where we talked me through the images. He explained everything very calmly, and in a way that I found easy to understand. I'm an architect and am used to looking at 3D models, and found this process very comprehensible; I could really see what was going on.
Rohit was already very clear on the problem, as well as the treatment that would be required, but went on to do a number of simple physical tests. Remarkably, from our initial online consultation, Rohit had already figured out which vertebrae were injured just by understanding which fingers were tingling. The scan and rudimental tests had confirmed his original diagnosis, which was very comforting.
And the stoop? Rohit said this is one of the side effects of a damaged disk between vertebrae. My body had known the problem for a long time and was overcompensating by tilting me forward to take the pressure off the spinal cord.
Rohit took his time over discussing my options with me. We spoke about what would happen if I left it alone, and also how things may improve if I opted for surgery. He explained that if I left it, it may or may not get any worse, although I will probably be more prone to injury. He also said that if I had surgery to correct it then the symptoms would ease, and maybe also improve (although not magically fix it).
Rohit told me he is part of a network of spinal surgeons who swap expertise, which I found very comforting. He was very open about his research and statistics, and told me he performs 45-50 of this type of operation a year. I was reassured by the positive statistics but decided to take some time to talk about it with my wife.
By the end of the week, I'd decided to go ahead with the surgery. Rohit's secretary came back to me with possible surgery dates, which means I could plan my surgery into my life. This was my decision and I was in control, which was great.
Surgery went ahead in mid-August, and I found the hospital atmosphere peaceful yet organised. Rohit came to the room on the morning of the operation to talk me through what to expect. The hospital had taken on a lot of NHS surgical patients, due to Covid, so my operation was scheduled for the evening. The nursing staff were very caring and professional, and nothing was too much trouble for them.
When I came round from the surgery, I had extra monitoring because I have hypertension, something that runs in my family. Following an x-ray, the next day to make sure my surgery was a success, I was able to go home. Rohit came to visit me again, and showed me the images of the staples in my neck. I was amazed at how intricate the surgery is!
When I got home, I never experienced any pain, which surprised me. The wound on my throat was a little uncomfortable but, internally, where I was expecting to have pain, I had none.
Nurses sent me home with a staple remover, which I could've taken to my GP, but I came back to Schoen Clinic to have them removed as I felt more comfortable. I had them removed as soon as possible, and I bought myself a beautiful scarf to celebrate my good result! My neck was stiff for a while, but this got better with time and had completely gone after a few months. I am very happy to have fully-working hands, and the most amazing thing is that I no longer stoop – have a whole new sense of wellbeing and am so grateful to finally get my life back.
Ron had a spinal surgery at Schoen Clinic Orthopaedic and Spinal Hospital London, with Mr Rohit Shetty. For further information about how Schoen Clinic can help you, please call us or fill in an enquiry form. You can use your health insurance, or pay for your own treatment. Find out more about how you can pay for your own treatment here.