From time to time, we all experience aches and pains. But for Calista White, severe back pain was part of her daily life. Calista was born with a congenital muscle and spine disorder that causes her to ache and limits her mobility. And her pain only worsened when her spine began to collapse and pinch her nerves. “It feels like you shouldn’t be standing up,” she explained, “It is like someone has a sharp sword down your leg.” Eventually, Calista decided to stand up to her pain and sought out innovative ways to treat it.
After talking with her primary care doctor, Calista turned to Dr. Eric Horn at IU Health Methodist Hospital to help stop the pain. During an extensive diagnostic process, Dr. Horn determined the best option for Calista was a minimally invasive surgery called a Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF). Though Calista had endured 39 surgeries already, this procedure would be different. Leading-edge technologies would allow her highly skilled physicians to conduct a surgery tailored to her individual needs.
With the aid of a mobile CT scanner, Dr. Horn and his team were able to do real-time imaging of Calista’s spine. In other words, as the surgeons were operating, they were able to see immediate images of Calista’s spine to better determine where to place the screws. “She’s going to see a real contrast in the surgeries she’s had in the past verses this minimally invasive surgery,” stated Dr. Horn. “We’re going to be able to do a very focal surgery to free up her nerves from being pinched.” Calista’s surgery helped stabilize her spinal vertebra, preventing them from pressing down on her nerves.
Though the TLIF procedure is a relatively new treatment option, it is old-hat for Dr. Horn and his team. “It’s become a mainstay here at Methodist Hospital. It’s cutting edge elsewhere, but we use it routinely,” he stated.
For Calista, the TLIF brought the relief she had longed for. . “I felt no pain. It was amazing.” Calista was able to regain her independence and continues to live an enriched life.