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Spinal Surgery Gives an Active Mother from Southbury Her Life Back

Thursday, March 06, 2014 - Danbury, CT

Spine Surgery Patient at Danbury Hospital

Frank Hermantin, M.D.
Orthopedic Surgery
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Southbury resident Lynda Pascone was an active Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in her early thirties when she began experiencing back pain. It started with a sciatic injury, exacerbated by hereditary factors and a physically demanding job.

For more than a decade, as the pain worsened, she tried not to let it interfere with her life. She was under the care of Dr. Frank Hermantin, orthopedic surgeon at Danbury Hospital's Center for Advanced Orthopedic and Spine Care. Dr. Hermantin had tried to help Lynda with medication, physical therapy and steroid injections to avoid surgery. "We always try conservative treatments first, before considering surgery," he said. "And in the majority of cases, they help."

But Lynda's condition deteriorated. By 2012 at age 41, "I wasn't living anymore," Lynda remembers vividly. "I had chronic sciatic nerve pain in both my legs. Walking was difficult. I had bowel and bladder problems related to my spine's instability. I couldn't do the activities I enjoyed, like skiing or softball, or playing with my kids." With two active children and a husband in the military reserve who was about to be deployed, it was time to consider more aggressive treatment.

Dr. Hermantin agreed. "Lynda was very young to have a big spinal procedure," he stated, "and I had worked with her over the years to try to avoid it. But her spine had become very unstable and she had painful spinal stenosis. We needed to improve her quality of life."

Lynda's damage was at the L3-S1 vertebrates of her spine. She needed multi-level decompression surgery that involved a 9.5 hour procedure, the installation of two titanium rods, eight screws and three cages (to keep the vertebrate separate and decompressed).

The procedure was a complete success. Lynda had immediate relief from her nerve pain, and felt more stability right away. She was discharged with a list of exercises and a schedule of routine check-ins with Dr. Hermantin. While most patients need up to six months recovery, Lynda was out of work for just six weeks. One year later, she was cleared with no limitations, with permission to ski and play softball.

"The perceptions of spinal surgery are outdated," said Dr. Hermantin. "It's safer now, with much less risk of nerve damage. Our methods are refined; our tools and instruments are much more precise. No one should lose months or years of their life suffering because of fear of the procedure."

Danbury Hospital's Center for Advanced Orthopedic and Spine Care brings together a multidisciplinary team of experts specializing in orthopedic surgery, spine surgery, and neurosurgery. The Center's physicians are all fellowship-trained, and share their expertise to arrive at the best course of treatment for individual patients.

Dr. Hermantin cites Lynda's case as the "epitome of success," and calls Lynda an inspiration as a patient. "She did everything we recommended and her determination to recover was remarkable."

The admiration is mutual. "Dr. Hermantin was phenomenal," according to Lynda. "He tried all options to treat my spinal problems. He was always supportive, honest and clear with me." Most importantly, he helped Lynda get her life back - every bit of it.

For more information about Danbury Hospital's Center for Advanced Orthopedic and Spine Care, call 1-800-516-4743.

About the "New" Western Connecticut Health Network

Western Connecticut Health Network is the region's premier, patient-centered health care organization serving residents of Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. With this recent affiliation, the organization is now anchored by three nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and Norwalk Hospital, as well as their affiliated organizations. In addition to the three hospitals, the continuum of care offered includes numerous medical practices and sub-specialties across the region, home health care services, a nationally renowned biomedical research institute, the Western Connecticut Health Network Foundation, the Norwalk Hospital Foundation and other affiliates. For more information, visit TheNewWCHN.org. Share your comments with us at Facebook.com/DanburyHospital; Facebook.com/NewMilfordHospital and/or Facebook.com/NorwalkHospital.




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