Spine Surgery Leads to Fantastic Results

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Climbing mountains with Ann

At California Pacific Orthopedics, we have a wide variety of surgical and non-surgical procedures to treat back and neck pain. Our spine experts develop the most effective treatment plans for patients to get back to feeling better and back to doing more.

In fact, if you experience back or neck pain, we strongly advise you to consult your primary care physician first. They may be able to start you on a more conservative plan of action. Only a small number of patients with back and neck problems require surgery.

To learn more about spine care, please visit our spine page.


Our spine patient, Ann, is an active athlete who experienced severe back pain. “I started feeling pain, so I tried physical therapy for a little bit and it was just not working. The pain was so severe that I would have to stoop over to stop the pain,” Ann said.

Ann immediately called our office to schedule an appointment with our spine experts who treat spinal stenosis so that she could get back to her favorite activities.


After having an appointment, Physician Assistant James Aicardi carefully evaluated her plan of care and suggested to have an epidural corticosteroid injection to relieve the pain.

Dr. Mark Ignatius, our Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) doctor, administered Ann’s epidural injection. This pain medication is directly injected to the epidural area, which protects the surrounding nerves of the spine from any damage.


Despite Ann’s optimism that the injection would alleviate the pain, she said that the pain continued and she contacted our office to be re-evaluated.

Ann was scheduled to have an appointment with our spine surgeon, Dr. Frank H. Valone, at our San Rafael location. Shortly after her appointment, Dr. Valone took a closer look into Ann’s plan of care to check the surgical procedure’s success rates and was authorized to have a minimally invasive spinal fusion surgery.


Ann explained that her surgical experience was a success and she can’t wait to go back to playing tennis and doing more of her favorite activities such as touring the world.

“The information and materials for surgery were fantastic and I was walking without pain at the hospital,” Ann said. “I just had my three week post-operative appointment which was great, perfect, and I just can’t tell you, it’s been a fantastic experience. “

Ann at Maier College

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