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Nerve Decompression Surgery Helps Injured Flight Attendant

nerve decompression surgery

Dr. Tollestrup and Melissa, who benefited from nerve decompression surgery.

The following is a story about a patient, Melissa. Thanks to nerve decompression surgeries by Dr. Tim Tollestrup, Melissa’s quality of life has improved tremendously.

Her story underscores the frustrations and long journey endured by many of Dr. Tollestrup’s patients.

Melissa works as a flight attendant for United Airlines. A few years ago, she slipped on some grease at work , falling heavily on her left side. She sustained a severe left ankle sprain with swelling and bruising. Initially, the pain was confined to the left ankle and foot. She also experienced tingling and burning and was placed in a walking boot. She developed a partial left foot drop. Despite the clinical symptoms and motor deficit in the left foot Melissa went back to work six months later.

Melissa continued to experience chronic pain in her left lower leg and foot, Two years later, while pulling a beverage cart on the airplane, she felt a severe shooting pain from the lower back and left buttock area all the way down her leg into her toes. The pain was so severe that she could not walk and had to spend four days in Beijing, China, before the pain subsided enough for her to make it back to the United States.

After that episode,  the pain in the left leg was constant; standing, walking, sitting, or lying down for long periods exacerbated the pain. As time passed, Melissa developed additional symptoms including severe shocking/cramping in the legs, particularly the calf muscles. She also experienced numbness, tingling, pins and needles, and sharp pains from her lower back all the way down the left leg into the foot and toes.

Melissa then met Dr. Tollestrup, who examined her and listened intently to her history. Careful listening and physical examination give Dr. Tollestrup a clear picture of which nerves are compromised. It is during this intake he first develops his surgical plan.

After evaluation Melissa, Dr. Tollestrup  recommended nerve decompression surgery. Since then, she has undergone a complex series of nerve decompression surgeries. This required two separate operations to complete.

Post surgery, Melissa is in physical therapy and making excellent gains. The original pain in the left leg is essentially gone and she is very happy. She has been “rescued” from what would have otherwise been a career and “quality of life” ending injury.

To show her gratitude, Melissa presented Dr. Tollestrup with this gift – a plaque with a clever saying. Her smile says it all – a life restored thanks to Dr. Tollestrup.*


We do not guarantee any specific results or outcomes for surgery, should our practice work on your behalf. Information on this website may be used as a reference for successes we’ve achieved for our patients, and not as an assurance or guarantee for similar results in all instances.

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