Danielle Diorio came to CSO with neck pain last year. After talking to Dr. Janssen, our well-renowned spine surgeon, she received her diagnosis and treatment. Her turn around time was incredible, and she was exercising within the next week! Read below for more on Danielle’s story. For more information on the treatments we offer at the Center for Spine and Orthopedics, click here!
Danielle Diorio woke up with excruciating neck pain one morning last October. The pain was so bad that the 36-year-young Wisconsin woman had to sleep in a chair. Her right arm went numb. Finally, she called Dr. Michael Janssen, a spine surgeon in Denver who was a family friend.
“Dr. Janssen told me that I most likely had a herniated disk in my neck,” says Danielle, who followed up with an MRI in Richfield, WI, where she lives. The MRI confirmed Dr. Janssen’s preliminary diagnosis and also showed that a bone fragment was lodged in her spinal nerve, causing the numbness in her arm.
“My brother asked me how I broke my neck,” says Danielle, with a laugh. “But I’ve since learned that degeneration in the cervical spine is not uncommon, even at my age.”
Danielle and her husband, Vinnie, lead active lives. She’s a runner and goes to her gym regularly. The couple enjoys boating, snowmobiling, hiking and more.
Following her MRI, Dr. Janssen explained conservative treatment options, but Danielle wanted a permanent solution. She opted for motion-preserving surgery with a total disc replacement (TDR) rather than spinal fusion so she could continue to do all the activities she loves. Danielle knew that she would be in good hands since Dr. Janssen has performed more than 1,000 complex TDR procedures.
“I never felt nervous about surgery,” says Danielle. “I know that Dr. Janssen is such a good doctor. I trusted him. I did not want to go through another month of severe neck pain.”
On Sunday, December 1, Danielle flew to Denver for surgery while Vinnie stayed home with the couple’s children. The next morning, Danielle had TDR surgery by Dr. Janssen at the Musculoskeletal Surgery Center adjacent to the Center for Spine and Orthopedics, where Dr. Janssen practices. The surgery went well, and Danielle was discharged from the surgery center the next morning. That afternoon, she flew back to Wisconsin.
“Everyone at the practice and the surgery center were so helpful and nice,” says Danielle. “They picked me up at the Denver airport and arranged a wheelchair at curbside when I returned home. I talked to Dr. Janssen’s PA, Rachel, on her cell phone the weekend before surgery. In Canada, where I’m from, you don’t get that level of care.”
Within a week after surgery, Danielle was walking daily, using an elliptical machine and regaining the strength in her right arm. “It’s crazy you can have neck surgery and you’re up and walking the next day as if nothing happened,” says Danielle.
Less than a month after surgery, all her pain was gone. She regained full strength in her right arm and went snowmobiling with her husband at the end of December.
“I’ve can do all the things I love again without pain now,” says Danielle. “I’m glad that I could have TDR surgery, and I’m very grateful to Mike for giving me my life back.”
For an appointment with Dr. Michael Janssen, call the Center for Spine and Orthopedics at 303-287-2800.