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Lumbar Disc Replacement

Gabriele Galassi had been suffering from back pain for 18 years and was first diagnosed with a lumbar disc hernia in 2006 in Italy. He underwent surgery to have the hernia removed but during this process, it was discovered that he had another hernia above the one that was surgically removed. 

He was advised that the second hernia (at L4/5) would trouble him at some point in his later life; roughly in about four or five years time. However, it wasn’t until January 2015 that Gabriele experienced problems as his active lifestyle had helped to keep the issue at bay for a longer period than it was initially thought. 

His lower back pains had returned and any kind of sporting activities had become impossible for Gabriele. He visited his GP and as suspected, the MRI results showed a recurrent disc hernia with a damaged degenerate disc (at L4/5). 

Gabriele then visited Mr Khai Lam, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at London Bridge Hospital, upon the recommendation of a friend’s daughter who had undergone surgery with Mr Lam. Mr Lam examined Gabriele’s X-ray and MRI results and immediately had a strategy in mind to help him get back into shape and return to a normal lifestyle. 

Mr Lam informed him that there was also an issue with his spine and that he didn’t like the results of Gabriele’s previous (L5/S1) fusion surgery. Mr Lam recommended an option to fix all three problems, in order to relieve Gabriele from pain completely. Gabriele comments, “Mr Lam made me feel comfortable and I knew straight away that I could trust him.”

A couple of weeks later, in mid April 2015, Mr Lam suggested to implant an artificial lumbar disc from the front of his abdomen via a minimally invasive approach to replace the damaged (L4-L5) disc. Gabriele comments, “I was very happy with Mr Lam as he would explain and give me as much details as possible about my procedure which made me feel that I was in safe hands.”  Before going ahead with surgery, Gabriele requested a short period of time to do some research about the procedure due to the risks involved. He consulted a few professionals and opinions from family and friends as well and scheduled his surgery for May 2015. 

Gabriele comments, “I decided to go ahead with the surgery and have the artificial disc implanted because of the trust I carried in Mr Lam. I knew he would be able to get rid of my pains and help me function normally and allow me to lead a normal life again.” Mr Lam is a highly experienced spinal surgeon and has performed more than 1000 anterior lumbar surgeries to date, of which more than 500 are lumbar disc replacements. 

The surgery went very well and Gabriele was extremely pleased with the results. He felt a sense of relief upon waking up from surgery without experiencing any pain. Gabriele believed that in order for him to get back on his feet and continue his active lifestyle he needed to stay proactive. He decided to follow the instructions guide given to him at the hospital when he was discharged. 

A couple of days after his surgery, he was able to take long walks, and even walk up to 10k at times. Two weeks post surgery, on his birthday, Gabriele went hiking in the Lake District. 

Since his surgery, Gabriele feels great: “nine months post-operation, I was signed off and Mr Lam was very satisfied with the results and in seeing how well I had recovered. I couldn’t be happier.” 

Gabriele comments on his experience: “Mr Lam is an excellent surgeon, from my initial consultation through to post-operation after care, he had me feeling relaxed and that I was in good hands. He gave me complete peace of mind, which is priceless. I would fully recommend him to any prospective patients dealing with similar symptoms.”