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‘I’ve Recovered So Quickly’ — She Got Her Active Life Back After Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery at Marcus Neuroscience Institute

For too long, Gloria Nissinoff, 78, was unable resume an active life, whether it was working out at the gym, going for a walk, dancing – or spending time with her husband of nearly 60 years, Barry, her three children and six grandchildren. Spinal issues that radiated numbness and pain to her leg were making her miserable.

Timothy O'Connor, M.D. director of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Spine Surgery at Marcus Neuroscience Institute

“I’ve always had issues with my back,” she recalls. “I had numbness in my legs and pain down my legs — and it just was horrible. I’m very active and I like to do things … I couldn’t walk from here to the mailbox. You know, I just lay on the couch.”

Mrs. Nissinoff recounts the futile steps she took to get help for her back issues. “I went to different facilities and interviewed different doctors and some of them said, ‘We can’t touch you.’ And then I found Dr. O’Connor and he was a perfect fit.”.

She’s referring to Timothy O’Connor, M.D., director of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Spine Surgery at Marcus Neuroscience Institute, established at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, a part of Baptist Health.

(Watch video: Hear from patient Gloria Nissinoff and Timothy O’Connor, M.D., director of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Spine Surgery at Marcus Neuroscience Institute. )

“Gloria presented to me with significant pain radiating into her leg that was significantly affecting her quality of life,” said Dr. O’Connor. “She sought several different opinions, with options ranging from doing nothing to a much larger surgery with a much longer recovery. And when she came to me, we discussed potential different treatment options, including a more minimally invasive approach to help alleviate her pain.”

Dr. O’Connor specializes in minimally invasive, robotic and complex deformity surgery. Marcus Neuroscience Institute has earned the Gold Seal of Approval for Spinal Surgery Certification from The Joint Commission, the nation’s independent accreditation organization. The Gold Seal reflects commitment to the highest standards in patient care.

Dr. O’Connor explains Mrs. Nissinoff’s procedure: “I performed a minimally invasive surgery, using newer techniques and a high-powered microscope to go in and take the pressure off of the nerves, and alleviate the significant pain that she was experiencing.”

Mrs. Nissinoff, who has completed physical therapy has surprised everyone with her quick recovery. “It was an overnight, minimally invasive procedure,” she says. “I have a very small cut in my back — that I couldn’t believe the size of it. And no one can believe that I’ve recovered so quickly, including Dr. O’Connor.”

“Marcus Neuroscience Institute is a center of excellence that allows us to use cutting edge technology to perform the safest and most precise surgeries,” said Dr. O’Connor. “But it’s much more than that. We have such a fantastic team here that’s really working in tandem to help the patients in whatever they need.”

He’s inspired by the recovery of patients. “When I see a patient like Gloria who didn’t think that she had any other options — and then see her after surgery, as happy as she is, that really is what drives me to do the things that I do.”

Mrs. Nissinoff is thrilled to have resumed her active life.

“Dr. O’Connor and his staff have made me very happy — they have given me back my life.,” she said. “Everything I want to do — I do. I’m walking around the lake. I’m riding the bike in the gym. I’m going swimming. I’m going back to dancing soon because there’s a dance coming up.”

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