Married Couple Shares Successful Back Surgery Experiences at MedStar Harbor

In the eyes of jewelers Wayne and Brenda Starkey, John Carbone, M.D., is a real gem. The husband and wife both had successful back surgeries, thanks to Dr. Carbone, director of orthopaedic spine services at Harbor Hospital.

 His Story

For as long as he can remember, Mr. Starkey, 63, has suffered from backaches. Working alongside his wife in their Frederick County jewelry shop, Mr. Starkey was often overcome with pain.

“It was hard to be on my feet all day,” Mr. Starkey said. “The pain was getting worse, and I was getting weaker and weaker.”

The problem was spinal stenosis — a narrowing of the spaces in the spine that puts pressure on the nerves in the back. Many people develop this as they get older. However, it’s not “just part of aging,” and surgery can help ease the discomfort.

To relieve Mr. Starkey’s aching back, Dr. Carbone suggested corrective spinal fusion and decompression surgery in his upper back in 2004. About a year later, Mr. Starkey had a second surgery to relieve leg pain.

Today, he is feeling better and looks forward to traveling more with his wife.

Her Story

Unlike her husband, Mrs. Starkey, 61, hadn’t suffered from back pain her entire life. Only in recent years did she have trouble with her lower back, including stenosis and scoliosis, a curvature of the spine. She tried steroid injections and chiropractic manipulation, but the pain relief was only temporary. So, in April 2006, she had the same type of surgery as her husband.

“Dr. Carbone has an excellent bedside manner, and he let us know what we could expect throughout the process,” Mrs. Starkey said.

Today, her backaches are gone. “I don’t even think about my back anymore,” she said.

If You Have Back Pain

“Older adults don’t have to be limited by their back pain,” said Dr. Carbone, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and expert in complex spinal surgeries. “Our ability to treat back pain in older adults has increased exponentially with newer surgical techniques and technologies. We now have the capacity to address the instabilities of the spine so we can prevent future problems.”

For others who are suffering from backaches, Mrs. Starkey offers this pearl of wisdom: “Don’t wait. Having back pain makes you avoid the activities you enjoy. You make excuses, and that’s no way to go on living.”

Location Information

MedStar Harbor Hospital
Centers for Orthopaedics
2900 South Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225

2118 Greenpring Drive
Timonium, MD 21093