Stephanie's Story: Back to Being Active

While training for the New York Marathon in 2016, Stephanie Schuur, RN, often felt pain running down her legs. At times, she also noticed numbness in her feet and legs.

Worried, Stephanie saw physiatrist and sports medicine specialist Michelle Brewer, DO, who ordered an MRI to help make a diagnosis. Stephanie learned she had spondylolysis, a condition causing the separation of the small bony arch in the back of the spine between the joints.

“It was very exciting to train for a landmark event such as the New York Marathon because it brings in people from all over the world,” said Stephanie, who had been a competitive runner for nearly 30 years. “But my spine condition made it extremely difficult to compete in and complete the marathon.”

After six weeks of physical therapy failed to fully address her symptoms, Stephanie chose to explore surgical options with neurosurgeon Amritraj Loganathan, MD. Dr. Loganathan listened to Stephanie’s concerns and explained that her condition was likely to advance over time, possibly leading to paralysis.

Dr. Loganathan recommended a minimally invasive surgery to repair Stephanie’s spine separation. He explained how he would perform her procedure using the Excelcius GPS, an innovative system that combines the benefits of navigation and robotics into one technology.

Stephanie said, “I was really happy my surgeon would be using such an advanced monitoring system.”

Henry Ford Allegiance Health was pleased to be the first in Michigan to increase patient safety and improve surgical outcomes with Excelcius GPS. Dr. Loganathan said, “I was excited to offer Stephanie the advantages of the Excelcius system because it allows me to more safely perform precise, minimally invasive procedures like hers and it also often results in a shorter recovery time.”

Stephanie returned home less than 48 hours after her successful surgery.

“I had excellent results overall. I needed to be careful to avoid lifting or bending to protect my healing spine, but I was basically back to normal within a few weeks,” -Stephanie Schuur

The annoying numbness in Stephanie’s legs and feet disappeared too. “And I no longer had those painful ‘zingers’ going up my spine,” she added. “I was very fortunate to have had such an amazing group of doctors and care providers. Thanks to them, I can be active without pain and return to being a full-time nurse.”

While she has set marathons aside, Stephanie’s passion for fitness is running strong. Along with yoga and stretching, her energizing exercise regimen now includes using an elliptical machine, swimming laps and participating in low impact aerobics at her local YMCA.

“And spirited walks with Buddy, our family dog!” said Stephanie.

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