Lumbar ( Lower Back ) Testimonials


Diagnosis: degenerative spondylolisthesis with stenosis

Treatment: anterior lumbar interbody fusion with posterior lumbar fusion

“I feel fabulous!” That’s what 59-year old Rick P. says after having successful surgery on his back in the summer of 2003.

Rick endured more than 10 years of progressive and degenerative pain in his back. His sciatic nerve caused immense pain all the way down his left calf. He had gained quite a bit of weight as a result of a sedentary lifestyle. He was unable to do much physical activity because of his back problem.

I lost ten years of pain and fifty unhealthy pounds after Dr. Peloza did the ALIF procedure.

Over the years, Rick had consulted with a series of other doctors in places he resided in southern California, Hawaii and now, Dallas. He underwent MRIs, steroid injections and other treatments that were of no help. “I got to the point that my quality of life was no quality,” he says.

Finally his nephew, who is employed with a major international medical equipment company, highly recommended Dr. Peloza. After meeting with Dr. Peloza, Rick learned he had unstable spondylolisthesis (usually due to a developmental defect or as a result of a fracture) at Lumbar 4 and 5. In addition, Dr. Peloza diagnosed Rick with lower-extremity radiculopathy, a disease of the nerve roots in or near the spinal canal as a result of direct pressure from a disc, or inflammation of the nerve roots due to disc or spinal joint disease.

Rick made the decision to have surgery. “Dr. Peloza told me he could cure the pain or he could cure the problem. I told him to fix the problem.” Using a series of skilled procedures, Dr. Peloza went to work.

Dr. Peloza performed an anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) with the LT-Cage™ and the new INFUSE bone graft. INFUSE is a revolutionary new material Dr. Peloza uses in conjunction with the LT-Cage which introduces bone morphogenetic protein to stimulate bone growth. It is significant that Dr. Peloza uses INFUSE, because it eliminates the patient’s need for a second surgery to harvest bone. In fact, Rick was one of the first patients Dr. Peloza used INFUSE on.

Next, Dr. Peloza performed the Sextant procedure on Rick’s back side at L 4 & 5 and S1. Sextant is a minimally-invasive approach to the posterior of the spine, using a percutaneous rod insertion system, providing much less trauma to the muscles and tissue surrounding the spine. Using small incisions, the Sextant is an ideal choice for patients like Rick who have spondylolisthesis and may require a fusion.

24 hours after surgery, Rick was walking a short distance, and within one week, he was walking a mile.

Today, Rick walks 3-5 miles a day and has dropped more than 50 pounds! He says he is now able to play with his 10-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter.


Diagnosis: Athletic Lumbar post lamenectomy pain syndrome and degenerative disc disease

Treatment: anterior lumbar interbody fusion with Sextant Minimally Invasive Procedure

Dan S. is living proof that back injuries can happen to anyone, even if you are in excellent shape. The 24-year-old former Ohio State Buckeyes kicker was training for the NFL when a serious back injury sidelined him.

…while training for the NFL I was sidelined by serious back injury. Today, I work out 5 times a week … to try out for the NFL again

Oddly enough, Dan was doing the very thing he loves most when he got injured: working out. He was in heavy training for NFL tryouts when he was running with a parachute. He felt the injury almost immediately. Pain was searing down his legs and buttock area. After that, Dan was in constant pain. “I couldn’t sit or stand for long periods of time,” he says

After meeting with several physicians and enduring a year of daily pain, Dan heard about Dr. Peloza and the Center for Spine Care through a friend and former teammate at Ohio State. Dr. Peloza had also treated the teammate.

“I felt a complete comfort zone with Dr. Peloza,” says Dan. Dr. Peloza performed the Sextant™ surgical procedure on Dan. This minimally invasive procedure allows surgeons to apply screw and rod implants to the spine without major muscle and tissue disruption encountered with traditional spinal fusion surgeries. It is frequently used in combination with an anterior lumbar inter-body fusion (ALIF) such as the LT Cage™ as was the case with Dan.

Today, Dan is feeling much better and living a pain-free life. He works out 5 times a week and is concentrating on trying out for the NFL again. He says he wants to wait until the timetable is right and he feels 100% ready.


Diagnosis: degenerative disc disease

Treatment: anterior lumbar interbody fusion with Lumbar Fusion

Sharon H.’s spine problems date back to 1991. After having surgery in the early nineties by another physician for a ruptured disc, she felt fairly good for the next nine years, having few flare-ups.

“I am no longer in constant pain. It was a life-changing experience.”

But in May 2000 this would all change. Rollerskating one sunny day with her son, Sharon fell. She immediately knew something was wrong and her pain was quite severe. She tried various exercises and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories to ease her discomfort. For 3+ years, Sharon says, she was in constant pain. The pain was in her lower back and radiated sharply down her leg.

At the time, Sharon lived in Fort Worth, TX and worked in Dallas at a desk job requiring her to sit behind a computer all day. The long commute in the car as well as sitting in a chair all day did not help the pain.

Sharon finally went to the Center for Spine Care for treatment. Dr. Peloza diagnosed her with degenerative disc disease and performed a two-level lumbar spinal fusion using Infuse ™ and Sextant™, two minimal access spinal technologies (MAST). Sextant™ uses pedicle screw instrumentation which does not strip away soft tissue from the muscle, helping provide patients successful outcomes. Infuse™ is a genetically engineered bone growth stimulator used to initiate bone growth in the spine. Using Infuse™ eliminates the need for a second, invasive surgery to harvest bone from the hip.

“It was a life-changing experience for me,” she says.

Now living in North Carolina with her family, Sharon says she is “amazed and blessed.” She now goes on daily walks for exercise and recently got a golden retriever puppy for her son.


Treatment: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)

Erick B. is not the kind of man to get knocked down by pain of any kind. After a successful college football career, Erick served in the United States Army in the Special Operations division where he spent his early adult years jumping out of planes on government missions.

In 1977, he ended his military career and was beginning to have some trouble with his back. “When you jump out of a plane and land, it’s like jumping off a roof and hitting concrete,” he says. A very active man, he continued his love of the outdoors and as an avid skier, he participated and placed in the 1982 Olympic downhill racing trials.

All of this activity exacerbated an already existing back pain problem. Then 15 years ago, Erick was in a head-on car accident, which required him to have a spinal fusion. All seemed well for awhile and Erick went on to enjoy a successful career as a sales executive with Fujitsu.

Then in 2002, the back pain came roaring back as well as “tingling” in his toes. “When giving presentations, I could not stand more than 3 minutes at a time,” he says. He had pain walking upstairs; he couldn’t drive a car for any length of time and could no longer work out like he used to. His weight shot up to 278 pounds.

Finally he went to a neurologist who referred him to John Peloza, M.D. In 2003, Dr. Peloza performed a two-level Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) on Erick. An ALIF is a surgical technique where the lumbar spine is approached through an incision in the abdomen. A portion of the affected disc space is removed from the spine and replaced with an implant.

Incredibly, Erick was up walking around the hospital wing the first day after surgery, much to everyone’s amazement.

Today, Erick says he has “a complete new lease on life.” He is working out again, is weightlifting up to 100 pounds and bench-pressing 120 pounds. He now weighs 209. Recently retired from his corporate position, he is looking forward to starting a new company. He and his wife are looking forward to moving back to Oklahoma.


Diagnosis: Degenerative Disc Disease

Treatment: Maverick — Total Disc Replacement

There is a special place in the hearts of the Center for Spine Care staff for Karen S. as she was the very first recipient of the revolutionary Maverick disc replacement.

The very first recipient of the Maverick disk replacement is once again walking four miles every day.

Karen’s journey with her back problem began in 1992 when she and her family moved into a new home they built in Flower Mound, outside of Dallas. An outdoorsy type, Karen enjoys doing yard work and mowing. Some of this work on the lawn required hauling heavy equipment and hauling large rocks around their one-acre lot. Karen began experiencing “searing, hot pain” from her lower back all the way up to her shoulders. It got progressively worse.

She finally decided to seek help. A neighbor who had been to Dr. Peloza for her neck, recommended him to Karen. Dr. Peloza diagnosed Karen with Degenerative Disk Disease. Shortly thereafter, Karen filled out the paperwork and learned she was a candidate to receive the Maverick? total disk replacement, a new artificial disc in a nationwide clinical study that Dr. Peloza and a handful of other physicians were involved in. The purpose of the trial is to study the outcomes of people who receive an artificial disc versus a lumbar fusion. To date, the spinal fusion has been the usual course of treatment for patients with degenerative disc disease. The new artificial disc replacement offers a possible new, effective alternative to spinal fusion.

Today, Karen says she feels great. She went home less than 24-hours after her surgery and was already walking. She now walks four miles a day and is back to doing yard work again.

Four days after her surgery, her family got a new Beagle puppy and named him Maverick! “I thought it was appropriate,” Karen says.


Diagnosis: Spondylolisthesis

Treatment: Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion with Lumbar Fusion

47-year-old Katy M., a training specialist for Carlson Restaurants, is no stranger to major back pain. “Every day was absolutely awful,” she says, as she suffered from intense lower back pain.

After seeing multitudes of physicians and living in pain, she finally found help at the Center for Spine Care.

Katy says for 13 years she was in unbearable pain, the last five being the worst of all. Strangely enough, there was no particular “event” that initiated her back problem. “You cannot imagine unless you’ve gone through this, how bad each day can be, living in awful pain,” she says.

After seeing multitudes of physicians, going to pain management centers, being taken advantage of monetarily by a chiropractor, living in pain with limited activity, and taking pain medications, Katy was in a desperate frame of mind. That’s when she found Dr. Peloza at the Center for Spine Care in Dallas.

Dr. Peloza determined that Katy’s spine had slipped halfway into her pelvic area, compressing her nerves, resulting in intense pain.

“I was referred to Dr. Peloza and thought I was going to yet another physician who would tell me there was nothing they could do. Dr. Peloza completely changed my life. He had many options for me. He is a miracle worker and as far as I’m concerned, he walks on water!”

Dr. Peloza performed a lumbar laminectomy and a two-level fusion on Katy. Today, she is pain-free and enjoying life. She now enjoys such activities as gardening, riding a bike, swimming, and hiking. She says it is wonderful to live life with no pain.


Diagnosis: Lumbar degenerative disc disease

Treatment: anterior lumbar interbody fusion with Lumbar Fusion

According to Bettie H., “life is now wonderful.” That is, after about 20 years of suffering from extreme back pain that came close to incapacitating her.

“People often ask me if I had it to do over again, if I would have this surgery again, and my answer is yes!”

The 62-year-old residential real estate pro, who is a top producer within her Dallas-based company, went through a physical journey that thankfully ended on a positive note. In college, Bettie suffered an extremely bad fall, which affected her lower back. As she got older, the pain increased and became more severe. She began taking NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) so frequently to relieve the pain, that she later developed stomach ulcers.

Through the years, Bettie visited many doctors who told her she needed a spinal fusion. She refused and put it off until she could not delay treatment any longer. After years of back pain that had continuously affected her sleep, her personal and professional life, she finally decided something had to be done. “When you know you are not yourself anymore, it’s time to do something,” she says.

Since Bettie was very active in the Dallas community, she had many contacts and began interviewing a compiled list of seven recommended spine surgeons, one of which was John Peloza, M.D.

“I had complete confidence in Dr. Peloza after meeting with him,” Bettie says. “He fully explained everything to me which made me better prepared for the surgery.” It also was important to her that Dr. Peloza has performed more minimally invasive spinal fusions than any other surgeon in the U.S.

Dr. Peloza’s treatment approach for Bettie was a minimally invasive spinal fusion using Sextant( and the LT CAGE( system. The Sextant( is a revolutionary way of accessing the spine, which requires minimal incisions. While using pedicle screw instrumentation, it does not strip soft tissue away from the bone, which helps improve patient recovery and helps to improve muscle endurance needed for a healthy back. The LT-CAGE( is a lumbar tapered fusion device, and is a small, hollow, tapered cylinder used to restore degenerative disc space to its original height, thereby relieving the pressure on the nerves.

Bettie says her recovery was smooth and she no longer is in pain, having back spasms or having to go to bed due to pain. She is able to garden, work, play with her grandchildren on the floor and recently she got a new Yorkshire terrier puppy. She walks a couple of miles each day.

“People often ask me if I had it to do over again, if I would have this surgery again, and my answer is yes!”


Diagnosis: Degenerative Disc Disease

Treatment: Maverick Lumbar Disc Replacement

Pamela H. feels like jumping for joy. “I am so thrilled! I feel like I won the lottery,” she says.

I awoke from anesthesia “pain-free.” The next day, I was sweeping my back porch and skimming my swimming pool. I’m so happy! I feel great!

The 47-year-old law firm receptionist endured an interesting journey and ended up as a patient in the Maverick lumbar disc replacement investigational trial, a national study that the Center for Spine Care was participating in. The purpose of the study was to compare the outcomes of patients who have had a lumbar fusion with ones who have had an artificial disc replacement. While not everyone is a candidate for an artificial disc, many with degenerative disc disease like Pamela are.

About 3? years before her surgery, Pamela began waking up with pain generating from her hips. She says it felt like something was crushing her pelvic area. She had no idea what it was and because she had never suffered an injury, she began to worry it was something life-threatening.

“I had no incident that caused it,” Pamela says. “I had always been extremely active. This came on so suddenly.”

Pamela informed her primary physician about the increasing pain when she was in for an annual physical exam. Her physician immediately referred her to Dr. Peloza. Diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, Dr. Peloza told her about the upcoming investigational trial for lumbar disc replacement in which he would be one of only a handful of physicians in the country involved in the study. The Maverick study was a couple of years away, and Pamela decided she would wait for it.

The next several years were spent in extreme pain and discomfort. Pamela says that simple daily tasks were painful such as bending over, making a bed, washing her car, and cleaning her house. It was becoming extremely difficult to stand for any length of time. For the last two years before her surgery, she was sleeping on a palette on the floor. Since she did not react well to pain medications, Pamela took Aleve at least two to six times a day. In addition, due to inactivity, Pamela gained 40 pounds in three years.

In March 2004, Dr. Peloza performed surgery and Pamela received her new Maverick artificial disc. She says she awoke from anesthesia “pain-free.” The next day, she was sweeping her back porch and skimming her swimming pool. “I’m so happy! I feel great!” she says.


Diagnosis: Post Lamenectomy Pain Syndrome with Degenerative Disc Disease

Treatment: anterior lumbar interbody fusion with posterior lumbar fusion

It took 10 years, an agonizing amount of pain, and a relentless pursuit for help. By chance, Joseph G. found help in the flatlands of Texas and the Center for Spine Care from his hometown of S. Plainfield, NJ.

“I have a new life! It’s like a miracle! Nobody can believe it.”

Injuring his lumbar disc in a construction-related incident in 1992, Joseph was out of work for two years and in physical therapy. In 1994 he opted for a laminectomy and discectomy. After that, it became even worse. “I was in pain constantly and was walking crooked for a year, ” he says. Joseph says that over time, the vertebrae had ground themselves down to bone spurs. His back was unstable and he was in intense pain.

“I felt like my whole life was over,” he says. “There was no life. I couldn’t participate in my kid’s sporting activities, I couldn’t hunt or fish.” The married man with two children could barely function on a daily basis. He got a job at a local church but says he mostly sat at his desk.

In desperation, Joseph continually consulted with physicians in New Jersey and was told he needed a traditional spinal fusion, requiring incisions up and down the middle of his back and a second surgery to harvest bone from his hip to later fuse to the spine. Often, patients remain in pain after a traditional fusion, due to muscles being stripped from the spine.

Then one night Joseph and his wife saw a television news story about a new spinal fusion technique being done by Dr. Peloza in Dallas. Armed with this information, Joseph consulted with five neurosurgeons who all said they could not do this procedure and that he was not a candidate.

The relentless and desperate man flew to Dallas and met with Dr. Peloza where he learned he had degenerative lumbar disc disease and he was indeed a candidate for the SEXTANT spinal fusion procedure, a revolutionary new way to access the spine. Dr. Peloza was one of only a handful of surgeons using the technique.

The SEXTANT is composed of specially designed tools equipped to access the spine through small incisions, then it delivers the screws and rods through these minimal incisions. In addition, Dr. Peloza used Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) on Joseph, eliminating the need for a second, painful surgery to harvest bone from his hip. BMP is a genetically engineered bone growth stimulator.

Four days later, Joseph was walking and flew home to New Jersey. He is no longer on painkillers and says he can hunt, fish, climb trees and hike. He plans to spend time in his new hunting cabin he just bought in Pennsylvania.

“I have a new life! It’s like a miracle! Nobody can believe it,” he says with relief.


Diagnosis: Lumbar Spondylolisthesis

Treatment: Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion With Lumbar Fusion

Lumbar spondylolisthesis is not what 32-year-old Claudia C. wanted to hear as the diagnosis of her debilitating back pain. Vertebra begin moving back and forth and compressing nerves, causing terrible pain.

“Life is so different! I have recovered very quickly!”

Claudia had experienced back pain for many years, but after giving birth to her daughter, it quickly got worse. “It hurt to sit, it hurt to drive. It felt like someone had driven an ax into my lower back. It completely consumed me day and night.”

She tried physical therapy, took pain medications and spinal injections, the latter only lasting a few days. Finally, a friend at work referred her to Dr. John Peloza where he diagnosed her with lumbar spondylolisthesis. In August, 2001, Dr. Peloza performed a minimally invasive anterior lumbar interbody fusion with the LT Cage? relieving the pressure on her nerves and stabilizing her spine with the Sextant? pedicle screw system.

Today, Claudia says she is like “a new person.” “Life is so different! I used to be depressed a lot because of the pain. I used to want to lay down all the time. Now I can play and ride bikes with my 7-year-old daughter. I have recovered very quickly!”

Stem Cell

Center for Spine Care offers stem cell therapy as a conservative treatment to promote natural healing for back or neck pain. Utilizing mesenchymal stem cells, this new method is used to treat patients with neck and back pain caused from degenerative disc disease.