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  • Hospital News

    Another Kind of Soccer Mom

    July 21, 2014

    Decades of back pain vanish overnight for Bernadette Camberdella after minimally invasive spine surgery at The Brooklyn Hospital Center.

     When I tell people I’m a soccer mom, they usually assume I’m someone who drops their kids off at the playing field and cheers from the sidelines. That’s true, but I’m also a mom who loves to play soccer competitively! 

    Unfortunately, until I met Dr. Anders Cohen, chief of neurosurgery and spine surgery at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, a soccer injury from my college days haunted me for years to come, making exercise difficult and life as a parent with a full-time job extremely challenging to say the least.

    I was a freshman playing soccer in a post-season game when I suffered a herniated disc. Surgery followed and I was able to get back on the field in a few months, but my problems had only just begun. I was beginning an adult life filled with near constant discomfort that seemed to increase as my family grew. 

    I tried non-surgical remedies such as decompression therapy and physical therapy, but nothing worked. I developed a limp and began to lose sensation in one leg, which sometimes made me feel as if my leg were underneath me when it wasn’t. One day I fell down several steps holding my six-month-old daughter in my arms.

    Realizing I couldn’t put off surgery any longer, my husband and I went on a search for the most effective minimally invasive spine surgery. We heard about Dr. Cohen and a new technique he specializes in called the XLIF procedure, which allows surgeons to correct lower spine problems without damaging the healthy surrounding tissue. Patients report less pain, less risk, and much shorter recovery times.

    We were impressed about how careful Dr. Cohen was. He not only wanted us to learn about my back condition and other minimally invasive approaches, he also made sure we got a second opinion before going forward with the procedure.

    Immediately after surgery I felt relief. The persistent pain which had gotten so much worse in the past year was now suddenly gone, and two years later it hasn’t returned. I was also happy to get back to work just six weeks after surgery. In fact, I was up and moving weeks before that! Now I’m back playing soccer again and, my greatest gift of all, Dr. Cohen’s surgery made it possible for us to have our third child.

    By Bernadette Camberdella