Spinal Stenosis

Mike Regains his Stride

When Michael K. was a young boy, his Mother frequently told him to stand up straight. The self-described Catholic "altar boy kid" says even then his back would bother him from standing and kneeling in church, causing him to slouch or have to sit down. He remembers going to museums with his family and having to sit down to rest his back.

Years later, the 59-year-old tax attorney would be surprised to find out that he had some severe problems in his lower lumbar area. A runner his entire life, Michael had enjoyed running marathons with no serious injury. His symptoms began with his left leg tingling, then it began to go numb. Worried, he sought help from Dr. Slosar.

The MRI supported a diagnosis of spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal. In addition, his facet joints had no cartilage at L4 and L5, making his movements "bone-on-bone" which was not good. Dr. Slosar recommended a laminectomy and spinal fusion. One week before the surgery, Michael was walking across a parking lot with a client, when his leg completely gave out. He knew more than ever that it was time for surgery.

Dr. Slosar used a newer treatment during the fusion. Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP), a genetically-engineered bone growth stimulator, helps the body initiate new bone growth. He used the BMP in the area between L4 and L5 where Michael had no cartilage. BMP eliminates the need for a second surgery to harvest bone to be used from another area of the body such as the hip.

"I feel like I have a 20-year-old body!" exclaims Michael. He still runs about 20 miles a week, and offsets his workouts with other exercises.  Since his surgery in 2007, Mike has run 7 “Way Too Cool” 50k races, as well as countless other races including a half marathon through the Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia. The married father of three adult children says that his encounters with Dr. Slosar and the results of the surgery were "way beyond my expectations... I may be slowing down, but I'm slowing down pain-free!"