Spine Association for Education

Patient Story - Andrew Goll


Age: 52
Condition: Herniated Disc

Twelve years ago, Andrew Goll, a 52-year-old landscaper, was diagnosed with a herniated disc. While he had previously enjoyed riding a motorcycle, skydiving, and scuba diving, Andrew limited his activity and used a steroid injection to alleviate the pain. Ten years went by without a major incident, until Andrew lifted a couple of heavy loads of garbage and overextended his back.

A CT scan showed that Andrew had a herniated disc again. Although he tried a chiropractor, acupuncture, and hanging upside down on an inversion table, Andrew could not relieve his back pain. It was only getting worse. “The pain made life miserable—I almost didn’t want to live anymore. I couldn’t walk my dog without stopping every 100 feet to stretch my legs because of sciatica. I am not a big fan of hospitals or surgeries, but I was ready to do whatever it took to help my back,” says Andrew.

As even his everyday work was aggravating his back, Andrew asked his doctor for advice. His doctor recommended the OLLIF (oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion) procedure, a minimally invasive surgery that would replace his damaged disc with a biocompatible interbody spacer. The procedure would take about three hours, and Andrew could return home the same day.

After receiving the OLLIF procedure, Andrew wore a back brace for a short time but was back on his feet and able to resume work and his usual activities. While he continues to go to physical therapy to reengage the back muscles he hasn’t used in a long time, Andrew has been free of sciatica and nerve pain. “It’s been 10 or 12 years since I could run. Now I can run for four miles with my dog and also use an elliptical machine to stay in shape. That burning, aching, severe pain that would extend from my hip to my foot is gone. If you want your life back after a herniated disc, I highly recommend the OLLIF procedure!”

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