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Back surgery gave Brenda Tibbens her life back

After two procedures, she can keep up with the kids during playtime.

Brenda Tibbens, 42, leads a busy life. “I start my day at 3:30 in the morning, go to work for nine hours at McDonald’s and then pick up babysitting kids for another five or six hours,” the Salladasburg resident says.

When a lumbar disc injury sidelined her, she was determined to find help to get her back on her feet.

Minimally invasive spine surgery had her home the same day

“I felt like everything was on fire. I couldn’t drive, take the kids to the park or get down on the floor with them,” she says.

Ms. Tibbens was referred to Geisinger neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Konakondla, a specialist in endoscopy surgery for spinal disc repairs. This is a less invasive approach that avoids significant bone removal or the use of screws or rods.

In October 2020, Dr. Konakondla repaired Ms. Tibbens’ disc endoscopically. She left the hospital the same day, with no narcotic painkillers — something she did not feel comfortable taking.

Pain relief was instant. "After surgery, I was like, ‘Thank you. Finally!’" she says.

Another back injury and it’s Dr. Konakondla to the rescue again

Ms. Tibbens went back to Dr. Konakondla in March 2021 after she reinjured her disc in a fall. Endoscopic surgery wasn’t an option this time, so Dr. Konakondla performed a more traditional — and more extensive — type of surgery, requiring screws and a titanium graft.

Though Ms. Tibbens still has some lower back problems, they’re nothing like what they were before. And best of all? She can do the things she loves again without worrying about the pain.

“I like to be on the floor with the kids, doing a lot of imaginary play and interacting with them at their level,” she says. “Geisinger gave me my life back.”

Next steps:

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Learn about spine care at Geisinger
Meet Sanjay Konakondla, MD

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