Laser Spine Institute’s first patient still feeling great

lsi-frontLike many Laser Spine Institute patients, Carl Karnes lived with chronic back pain for several years prior to finding relief. But his experience is a little different. He didn’t have a doctor referral or patient testimonials to lean on to help him make his decision to have his minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.

Carl Karnes is Laser Spine Institute’s very first patient to have a procedure performed. Before coming to Laser Spine Institute, he describes his pain as being a 9 ¾ out of 10.

“My pain was awful. It was to the point where some days I couldn’t get out of bed,” he remembered. “I had gotten to a very high level of involvement with a drug called Percocet. I was taking 8 to 10 pills per day.”

Carl met James St. Louis, D.O, Laser Spine Institute’s co-founder, at a Christmas party in Texas. Dr. St. Louis noticed that Carl appeared to be in pain and approached him. Carl told Dr. St. Louis about his pain, without knowing who he was, and mentioned that a famous doctor in Dallas wanted to open his back and put in rods and screws.

“Dr. St. Louis told me that it is almost never a good solution,” he remembered. “So I asked him if he thought he could help me. He said he didn’t know, but to send him my MRIs and X-rays.”

Dr. St. Louis called Carl back after reviewing his MRIs and X-rays and told him that he thought he could help relieve some of his pain.

“He said, ‘You can be my first patient. But you have to wait for my operating room to be finished because it’s still under construction,’” he recalled.

Carl told Dr. St. Louis, “If you think you can help, I’m going to give you a shot.”

Carl waited three months to have surgery at Laser Spine Institute. He was impressed with how he felt following his minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.

“I couldn’t believe I had this miracle surgery in the morning, but was walking on the treadmill and going to dinner that night,” he said.

It’s been nine years since Carl had surgery with Laser Spine Institute, and he still feels great.

“It’s been back to normal. I play golf. I can do anything I want to do,” he shared.  “At the time I had the surgery, my son was in middle school. He was playing basketball, and I was back to playing basketball with him.”

Carl said that he doesn’t “worry about my back pain returning” and suggests others send in their information for review.

“I don’t know if they can help you or not, but I would darn sure let them look at it,” he said. “Because the last thing a person needs is an open-back surgery. My advice is that if you’ve been told you need a back surgery, consult with Laser Spine Institute.”

Carl also had some tips for those who have recently had back surgery with Laser Spine Institute.

“Let your body heal. Don’t go back too fast,” he suggested. “Your body will tell you when it’s time. Remember to follow the doctor’s orders.”


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