Concord Oncologist Finds It’s A Small World
When It Comes To Getting Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Originally published Fall 2001

After months of intense back pain, it was determined Concord oncologist Richard F. Williams, MD, PhD, needed spine surgery to repair a herniated disc. With the help of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates and Northeast Medical Center, he was able to undergo a minimally invasive operation called microendoscopic discectomy (MED) without ever leaving Concord.

“It all started around April with discomfort in my right elbow,” said Dr. Williams. “As it grew worse, I thought the problem was due to overuse since I had recently attended golf school in Pi
Richard Williams, MD, PhD, enjoys a Florida vacation just one week after cervical MED surgery.
nehurst.” However, his problems were just beginning. By June, the constant pain had advanced to his shoulder and hand. He tried cervical traction, which helped for a brief period of time. Medication, including epidural steroids, also failed to provide substantial relief. As his condition worsened, Dr. Williams found it difficult to sleep, had trouble writing charts, and also had to stop performing bone marrow biopsies.

In late July, Dr. Williams came to the Concord office of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates. Mark Redding, MD, determined that Dr. Williams was a candidate for cervical MED and the procedure was immediately scheduled. “The surgery was performed on an outpatient basis,” said Dr. Williams. “I felt immediate relief. I went home that afternoon, took a nap, then went out for custard. One week later, I was on my way to Disney World, and the next week I was back playing golf.”

“Many people might not realize that minimally invasive spine procedures like MED are available here in Concord,” said Dr. Redding. “In fact, we are the only group in the Southeast, performing cervical MED surgery.”

“I heard the story about one of the practice’s cervical MED patients hitting a hole-in-one after having the procedure. I’m still waiting for mine,” joked Dr. Williams. “Even without a better golf game I couldn’t be happier. That surgery had a dramatic impact on my quality of life.”

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© 2001 Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates