A fall in Marcella Dowling’s backyard brought her to her chiropractor and then to Artem Y. Vaynman, M.D., F.A.A.N.S., for spinal surgery. Dr. Vaynman successfully removed and replaced several discs in Marcella’s back, leaving her pain free and restoring her ability to walk and drive.

Dr. Vaynman is a board certified neurosurgeon who treats many conditions at NSPC, including compression fractures, spinal cord injuries, herniated discs, degenerative scoliosis, and many other causes of back pain. He is the co-chief of spine surgery at Mercy Medical Center, specializing in complex and minimally invasive spinal surgery.

“I was working at school part time, and one day, I just couldn’t walk anymore. My leg was bothering me, I continued with my treatments, and nothing helped,” Marcella says. Her primary doctor referred her to a back surgeon.

An MRI showed that Marcella would need four discs removed/replaced, and Dr. Vaynman informed her that she would need spinal surgery in order to walk again. “I was on the couch for a month. I went into the hospital,” Marcella says.

Marcella had two back surgeries in one week, and she describes her surgeries and recovery: “It was a wonderful experience, I have to say. I was so worried about this hospital experience, but … the most wonderful thing was that I never really experienced pain once I had the surgery.”

Following surgery, Marcella remained in the hospital for ten days and spent three weeks in a rehabilitation facility. “My only problem was that I had a problem walking, and I have a numbness in my left leg. Dr. Vaynman said ‘Your recovery will be from seven months to a year’ and they are hoping that the nerves will regenerate,” Marcella says.

Marcella’s two surgeries greatly improved her condition, and she continued physical therapy as an out-patient. “I’m pain-free, and as time progresses, I’m getting a little better. I’m able to walk without a cane now, and I’m driving, and just experiencing life again,” Marcella says.