Age: 68
Hometown: Charleston, SC
Surgeon: Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
Procedure: eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF®)
Surgery Date: February 24, 2014

Life Prior to Surgery: Stewart struggled with intense lower back and leg pain for about eight years. He underwent his first back surgery in 2007 and was pain-free until 2013. When the debilitating pain reoccurred, he was incapable of walking more than three blocks without having to sit down and take a break.

In 2013, Stewart underwent two procedures to remove herniated discs. The procedures were unsuccessful and the pain did not subside. Instead of taking the risk of undergoing another ineffective surgery, Stewart sought a second opinion and consulted a different spine surgeon. Based on Stewart’s surgical history and the severity of his pain, his surgeon recommended the minimally disruptive XLIF procedure.

Situation Today: Stewart underwent XLIF surgery in February 2014. He stayed in the hospital for one night and slept for the majority of his first week of recovery. Only two weeks post-op, he was cleared to drive, climb the stairs in his house, and walk twice a day for 10 minutes at a time.

For postoperative treatment, Stewart did physical therapy twice a week. He says he benefited from the stretching exercises, as they helped him build up strength.
At his follow-up appointment, his surgeon told Stewart he was recovering faster than most people younger than him. Only two months after surgery, he was able to return to work on his non-profit assignments.

Stewart is now traveling with his family, walking at least 30 minutes each day, and riding his bike. He looks forward to being able to participate in even more physical activities soon.
Every time Stewart discusses his surgery, he mentions The Better Way Back and how much it helped him! He now wants to pay it forward and become a Patient Ambassador himself!