Linda Jones of Claiborne with local neurosurgeon Khalid Kurtom, MD, of Chesapeake Neurological Surgery in Easton, MD.When local resident Linda Jones of Claiborne, age 64, realized the constant leg pain she was experiencing was affecting her ability to walk by herself, she knew something would have to be done. After consulting with local neurosurgeon Khalid Kurtom, MD, of Chesapeake Neurological Surgery in Easton, Jones realized that minimally-invasive spinal surgery was the option that most appealed to her. Dr. Kurtom told her the surgery would only involve a short hospital stay and that her normal function would return in one to two weeks time, much less time than the traditional spinal surgery she had explored.

More and more Eastern Shore residents are electing to have minimally-invasive spinal surgeries at Shore Health System because their recovery time and post-surgery complications are much less than with traditional surgeries. When possible, Dr. Kurtom elects to perform minimally-invasive surgery over traditional surgery because he believes it ensures a better quality of life in the long-term recovery of a patient. 

In November 2010, Dr. Kurtom performed a minimally-invasive spinal fusion on Jones which relieved the pressure that a herniated disk was placing on her spinal canal and adjacent nerves. She was able to walk immediately after surgery. She recalls, "I did everything possible to avoid having this surgery, such as acupuncture and chiropractic treatments, but nothing worked to take away the pain and enable me to walk normally. Once I learned about Dr. Kurtom's minimally-invasive surgical approach, I changed my mind about having surgery." 

Jones experience with minimally-invasive surgery didn't end there. A year later, in November 2011, she experienced another issue with her spine. This time it involved herniated disks in her neck and a bone fragment pinching her spinal chord. What had started as progressive weakness in both arms had progressed in a month's time leaving her unable to walk, except with the use of a walker. 

Dr. Kurtom comments, "An MRI revealed that Linda had four herniated disks, the lowest of which was in her thoracic spine. The surgery would require a neck decompression and fusion to relieve the spinal chord compression she was experiencing." 

Dr. Kurtom, who describes himself as a conservative surgeon, encourages patients to exhaust non-surgical options first; surgery is elected when it is the only option left. In Linda's case, with spinal chord compression, surgery was imperative. 

Dr. Kurtom adds, "Linda went from almost being wheelchair bound to walking with minimal assistance. Today, she is walking fine on her own." 

Jones comments, "Having both of these surgeries as minimally-invasive procedures changed my mind about spinal surgery. I know it is risky any time you are dealing with your spine, but Dr. Kurtom is calming, reassuring and caring in his approach. His confidence made me confident. It also helped my recovery knowing I didn't have to travel far to have the surgery done. We're lucky to have him on the Eastern Shore." 

Dr. Kurtom adds, "I am thrilled to be able to provide these types of surgeries at Shore Health System, a private community hospital where it is our goal to keep patients healthy. Patients from up and down the Delmarva Peninsula are seeking out these surgeries. I think in the next 10 years it will become even more of a standard nationally to perform these minimally invasive spine surgeries." 

Dr. Kurtom has practiced in Easton since fall 2010 and specializes in brain and spinal tumor management as well as minimally-invasive spinal surgeries. For more information or to make an appointment, call 410-820-9117 or visit www.cnseaston.com.