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Johns Hopkins Medicine Suburban - Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)

New Directions Fall 2012

Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)

Date: October 1, 2012

Susan Townsend-Gray
Susan Townsend-Gray

Age 49. Assistant Director, Holton Arms Creative Kids Camp in Bethesda. Responsibility: Create summer fun for 200 4- to 7-year-olds. Mother of three. Hobbies: Susan knows this sounds funny, but… she loves to rake leaves. She also loves being active with her daughters, Kaitlyn and Heather (pictured>.

Townsend-Gray lived with chronic lower back pain for 20 years. She admits it was a roller-coaster ride of trial and error through the years. She had two spine surgeries that gave her relief for a while, but each time the pain returned, becoming worse in the last two years, with the pain and numbness occurring mostly in her foot. After three epidural injections that provided her with only temporary relief, she wanted to explore other options. Dr. Glenn Babus of the Spine Center at the Center for Pain Management in Rockville suggested she see Dr. Khanna. Townsend-Gray’s MRI showed spinal stenosis, spinal instability, degenerative disc disease and a herniated disc in her lumbar spine.

“In Ms. Townsend-Gray’s case, the leg and foot weakness was persisting and progressing,” says Dr. Khanna, noting that she was at risk of having a permanently weak foot unless the pressure was taken off the nerve. Dr. Khanna performed tranaforaminal lumbar interbody decompression fusion (TLIF) to remove pressure from the nerves and stabilize the vertebra. “Dr. Khanna and physician assistant John Volatile were very supportive, explaining every step of the way,” says Townsend-Gray, who spent just two nights in the hospital. For the first time in 20 years, Townsend-Gray reports feeling great! She anticipates at the time this issue of New Directions is out, she will be happily raking leaves!

To see a video simulation of Townsend-Gray’s procedure, click here.