Veteran gets first type of spinal surgery in Upstate
By: Ariel Gilreath
Posted: Sunday, November 27, 2016
When Marcus English first got back from his service with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, he not only had to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder from watching his squadmate die right in front of him from an improvised explosive device (IED), but he also dealt with the pain of a herniated disc from the blast for six years.
As of Sept. 21, he is the first patient in the Upstate to receive the BRYAN artificial disc surgery on two disc levels.
The BRYAN surgery uses artificial discs to alleviate herniated discs rather than the traditional operation spinal surgeons use, which fuses the two discs together.
English was first deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and was part of front line infantry. His squadron was doing a foot patrol to secure a compound in 2010 when one of them set off an IED.
“There was actually two guys in front of me -- the one guy kind of leaned up against the side of the building, hit a pressure plate IED and it went off,” English said. “I caught the blast that kind of threw me back, but when I landed, I actually landed on my neck and shoulders. So the blunt of the force was actually when I landed.”
English said the soldier who leaned against the pressure plate died.
“Then the gentleman behind him, he caught some fragments to his face from the fellow that was in front of him, and he went blind, and he actually had, I’d say, seven or eight different eye surgeries and they finally restored his vision,” English said.
English still has flashbacks of that moment and said he has since been diagnosed with PTSD.
From 2012-16, he lived with the pain of a herniated disc from the IED blast until almost exactly six years later, Dr. Michael Kilburn, with Self Regional’s South Carolina Spine Center, performed the BRYAN artificial disc surgery on him.
“The pain itself was gone immediately,” English said. “It made a world of difference immediately.”
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