Industrial Accident

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P.L. is a 39-year-old car radio installer from Daly City, California who injured his back on the job. He had been out of work on disability for 9 months. He tried physical therapy, chiropractor manipulations, water therapy, and massage therapy but still had persistent nagging low back pain that was worse with activity and better lying down. His test indicated that he had degeneration of the L5-S1 disc space (Figure 6).

Figure 6. MRI of the lumbar spine shows collapse and degeneration of the L5-S1 disc compared to the other disc levels. Line in center shows injection of dye into the disc, which recreates the patient’s pain and shows leakage of dye into the spinal canal.


Dr. McCormack performed a fusion procedure with a cage device. The surgery required two days in the hospital and the patient had excellent relief from the back pain. He was back at work in two months.

            Figure 7. Depiction of cages used to fuse the L5-S1 disc space.

        Figure 8. Postoperative X-ray showing cage and solid fusion at the L5-S1 level.

Patient Comment

"I am so happy that I had this surgery done. I was really getting depressed over the back pain and all the simple therapies weren’t helping. I waited so long because I’ve heard horror stories of patients with spinal surgery. Dr. McCormack explained to me that new technology has really improved outcomes. He’s right and I’m sorry I waited so long."