“The neurosurgeon who saved the family’s holiday vacation.”

It’s the type of vacation that every kid dreams about: Nine days at Walt Disney World over the Thanksgiving holiday. The Hall family booked the trip almost nine months in advance, but as their departure date approached, it looked like they might have to leave one family member behind – dad Jerome.

“I’d had what felt like a muscle cramp in my back for a week, but one morning I woke up in incredible pain, weak in my right leg, and needing crutches to get around,” remembers Jerome Hall.

Hall believes he injured his back while repairing damage done to his home by Hurricane Harvey. He sought help from Victor Lo, M.D., a neurosurgeon with Mischer Neuroscience Associates- Memorial City, who diagnosed him with a herniated disk.

“While Jerome’s case appears to have stemmed from a single incident, many herniated discs develop over time from a variety of causes and most commonly cause a shooting pain sensation. Usually, we prescribe medication or recommend injections to help. The fact that (Hall) went from pain to extreme muscle weakness in a week meant he had a very serious issue,” Dr. Lo said.

Dr. Lo recommended immediate surgery.

“At that point, we didn’t know what we were going to do. We thought for sure we’d have to cancel the trip,” remembers Hall. “My son and daughter would’ve been so disappointed.”

Hall underwent a microdiscectomy at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center, a minimally invasive procedure where Dr. Lo removed the material causing the pain and relieved pressure on Hall’s spinal nerve.

Innovations in Surgical Techniques and Technology Shortening Recovery Times

“Many people assume back surgery will put them out of commission for weeks. However, advancements in technology now allow us to use very small incisions for these procedures. Based on the type of surgery, many people are up and walking around the same day,” Dr. Lo said.

That was the case for Hall, who not only found himself up and walking the same day, but also cleared to go on his family vacation.

“I had to follow some strict instructions over the trip, but I was still able to spend time with my family, eventually walking around the parks with them. Honestly, it was one of the best Thanksgivings we’ve ever had,” Hall said.

Hall is still working toward a full recovery, but he has returned to work and driving.

“While everyone is different, most people are able to go back to work within two weeks and should be back to normal function in about a month,” Dr. Lo said.

“I consider myself very lucky to have access to such a good surgeon. Dr. Lo saved our Thanksgiving,” Hall said.

Mischer Neuroscience Associates is the clinical extension of Mischer Neuroscience Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in the community. Physicians affiliated with Mischer Neuroscience Associates – Memorial City have extensive expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of neurological issues, including movement disorders, epilepsy, sleep disorders, back pain, cancer of the brain and spine, and more. Learn more about the full spectrum of neurological care offered around the Greater Houston area.

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Tashika Varma