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"On a scale of one to ten, I have zero pain." This is how 43-year-old Rob Bailey describes his condition today since Dr. Andrew Utter performed Bailey's spinal fusion procedure in February of 2011. But, living without pain today did not come quickly or easily.

Bailey, a chemist and engineer with the U.S. government, has led a busy, active life traveling nationally and internationally for his job; and pursuing his athletic interests of weight lifting, running, and mountain bike racing. Several years ago, while living outside the state of Louisiana, Bailey suffered a major back injury. "In 2009, I injured my back weight lifting. This traumatic injury caused me to be paralyzed from the waist down. I had a badly ruptured disc and surgery was done to clean out the debris that ruptured out from the disc. A second surgery had to be done to completely clean out everything."

Bailey eventually moved to Shreveport, living with a great deal of pain. "My health deteriorated. I would go home from work and be on my back or be bed ridden with pain. It affected my work and entire lifestyle. I couldn't travel, and my job with the government requires lots of traveling."

On the advice and recommendation from his family doctor in Shreveport, Bailey visited the Spine Institute of Louisiana where he met spine surgeon and neurosurgeon Dr. Andrew Utter. "His knowledge of state-of-the-art surgical approaches is superior. I was very impressed with his knowledge. And, it put me at great ease knowing that he is also an athlete."

As a scientist and athlete, Bailey says he researched his surgical options. "I knew when a disc ruptured that spinal fusion was the best option for someone who is active and young. During spinal fusion they take out the injured disc and replace it with either a cadaver bone or a plastic disc. Bone grows through the new disc. So, two bones are fused together."

Unlike the first two surgeries out-of-state, Bailey's third back surgery – the first with Dr. Utter – had dramatically different results. "Six weeks after surgery, I was back in action. It was a quick recovery. I don't smoke and am not overweight, so, I healed very quickly. At the six week mark, I stopped all pain medications. Now, I am able to do everything I did before and more!" Bailey says he continues to have some muscle stiffness that is relieved with exercise and massage, but there is "no pain."

"I've recommended Dr. Utter and the Spine Institute of Louisiana to several people with back and bone problems."