Of all the things two generations of Infantes – Joseph, Sr. and his son, Joseph C. – have in common, suffering from severe pain was the one thing they hated sharing the most.
Forty-three-year-old Joseph C.’s nerve pain in both arms and legs left him barely able to walk and on disability leave from his job for nearly a year. His dad, a 69-year-old retired carpenter, had been struggling with severe back and groin pain for more than a year.
Both had nearly given up hope – until they were referred to Jay Chun, MD, PhD, a renowned neurosurgeon specializing in spine surgery, for second opinions that gave them both second chances.
Here’s their story.
Years of heavy utility work, manual labor and volunteer firefighting had taken a toll on Joseph C.’s neck and back. An initial consultation with a doctor revealed several herniated disks. The doctor said they were inoperable – which essentially meant untreatable. Joseph’s mom, a registered nurse, suggested Joseph C. get a second opinion from Dr. Chun.
“Joseph’s MRI showed extreme cervical compression which was making walking and using his arms difficult,” Dr. Chun explains. “His situation was extreme … so extreme that if he fell or was in a car accident, he could have been left a quadriplegic. I knew we had to do surgery immediately.”
Dr. Chun and his integrated team of experts quickly prepared for three procedures to repair compressed discs in Joseph C.’s cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine.
“While my case was complex and required specialized expertise, my experience with Dr. Jay Chun and his multidisciplinary network of spine specialists was seamless,” Joseph C. shares. “Every doctor and discipline I needed were involved in my treatment plan. And, the staff navigated me through my entire journey … from imaging and pre-op testing to follow up and rehab.
“Now, less than a year later, I’m walking and working pain free. Dr. Chun – with his great bedside manner, communication and ability to make me feel at ease – and team gave me my life back,” Joseph C. concludes.
Based on his son’s experience, Joseph, Sr. also turned to Dr. Chun for a second opinion. With long-term severe back and groin pain, another spine surgeon had recommended back surgery.
“When I reviewed everything with Dr. Chun and he looked at my MRI, he suspected the problem was my hip, not my back,” Joseph details.
“Joseph’s MRI showed some spinal stenosis, but his symptoms were more typical of a hip problem,” observes Dr. Chun. “I told Joseph he might need surgery for lumbar stenosis when he’s 110, but the pain he was experiencing was related to his hip. I recommended he see an orthopedic surgeon … one of the benefits of the holistic, convenient care we provide to our patients. The orthopedic surgeon confirmed Joseph had a hip issue that required surgery.”
Joseph is grateful Dr. Chun saved him from having unnecessary back surgery.
“Today I’m pain free,” Joe adds. “My son and I are thankful we met Dr. Chun, his colleagues and team. Dr. Chun knew my son’s situation was critical and executed immediately. With me, he provided a holistic view that identified the right problem, avoiding a very different – and potentially not so positive – outcome.”
The Infantes are just two examples of how Dr. Chun is changing the way spine care is delivered.
“The goal of our integrated model is not to operate – but rather to achieve the proper diagnosis based on each individual’s situation and the expertise and experience of our cross-functional team,” Dr. Chun concludes. “Our network of board-certified neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, neuroradiologists, physiatrists, physical therapists, nutritionists, nurses and pain management specialists track patient results, enabling us to deliver evidence-based care. When you add in our involvement in clinical trials that push the envelope in spine care and our commitment to providing best-in-class patient experiences, you get optimal patient outcomes.”
About Dr. Jay Chun, MD, PhD
Dr. Jay Y. Chun is renowned for treating spinal disorders using innovative and cutting-edge technology. He brings the latest science to the clinical treatment of neurosurgical issues – combined with personalized, thoughtful care.
To request a second opinion or schedule an appointment with Dr. Chun, please call 973.993.7770.