Five years into her mother’s pain management journey, Kelly White recalls sitting in Dr. Suneetha Budampati’s exam room rubbing her mother’s back as she wept in uncontrollable pain and extreme frustration, as the result of three failed neurostimulator implant surgeries. It was her hope that Dr. Budampati could undo the massive amount of damage that repeated failed surgeries, infections and endless medical examinations had caused to an already traumatized spine, nerves, vertebrae and three lumbar and thoracic herniated discs.
To her surprise Dr. Budampati took on a case that any other physician would refer back to the physician responsible for the erroneous damage. Little did she know that the team at
National Spine & Pain Centers office in Alexandria, Virginia would inevitably save her mother from very likely paralysis and more importantly, they would save her life. For Kelly it was very simply put, “In the ten weeks since Dr. B agreed to become my mom’s physician she has saved her life and guaranteed that the many years that she now has ahead of her will be active, happy years, free of pain and suffering; a life that seemed incredibly impossible ten short weeks ago”.
Dr. Budampati diagnosed Kelly’s mother with Back Surgery Failure Syndrome along with three herniated discs as a direct result of a spinal fusion surgery. At this point they were unsure of what was going on, but knew without a doubt that it was once again a back issue causing severe muscle spasms, limited mobility and constant excruciating pain. After the initial visit, Kelly and her mother were sent for two separate MRI scans so that a proper diagnosis could be given. Upon receiving the results, Dr. Budampati informed them that Kelly’s mother had three herniated discs in her lumbar and thoracic regions of her back. Due to the fact that it was unclear exactly where the pain was being generated or which discs were causing the spasms, the recommended course of treatment was epidural injections (also known as selected nerve root injections) into different spots within the herniated discs to determine exactly where the pain was coming from.
Selected Nerve Root Injections (SNRI) deliver medication directly into an inflamed nerve root that exits the spinal cord. Spinal nerve roots are positioned along the length of the spinal column. They are responsible for sending and receiving sensory (feeling) and motor (motion) signals throughout the body. Nerve roots extend off the spinal cord and branch out in a complicated infrastructure of nerves. A SNRI is used for both diagnosis and treatment. It helps determine if the nerve is irritated by “numbing” the nerve root of concern to produce temporary pain relief—thereby confirming a particular nerve root as the source of pain or other symptoms such as tingling, numbness or muscle weakness.
Although Kelly and her mother had been told that traditional back surgery was not an option due to her Failed Back Surgery Syndrome diagnosis, they chose to see Orthopedic surgeons and Neurologists. This had nothing to do with any lack of satisfaction with Dr. Budampati’s care, but more to do with Kelly’s mother’s dislike for taking medication for extended periods of time. In addition to this, she has always had a very difficult time with needle injections in her back. The desperate search for a permanent “miracle cure” left them with inadequate care when they turned to a Medtronic Neurostimulator implant. Kelly’s mother experienced two infections, severe spasms and the worst back pain to date.
The only reason I mention our journey is that it speaks volumes to the physician, caretaker and true healer that Dr. Budampati is. I do not speak lightly when I say that Dr. B literally saved my mom’s life. When I called that day as my mom sat crying in the car beside me, they put us on the emergency list and immediately gave us a 1 hour time slot to meet with Dr. Budampati. ”
Dr. Budampati took measures to guarantee the best care possible knowing that Kelly’s mother needed a neurologist and surgery as soon as possible to combat the massive infection that was flowing through her body, due to the incorrectly placed stimulator.
Since the surgery, Kelly and her mother have followed up with the neurosurgeon and infectious disease doctors several times, doctors’ that they were unaware that we even needed until Dr. Budampati made her diagnosis and set the recovery plan in motion. She sees her mother every two weeks since the surgery so that she can stay informed of the other doctor’s aftercare plans, and so that she can ensure that they are working as a “team” on both the short term (post-surgery) care plan as well as the long term care plan to address the 3 herniated discs that are still a very real issue since the failed neurostimulator implant surgeries.