Mr Neil Lasher, Neurosurgery Testimonial

I’m Neil, a patient of Spire Healthcare, and I would like to explain how the Stealth Station 7 technology and a great Neurosurgeon at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital have enabled me to live a normal life again, after years of crippling pain.

Thank you Richard Mannion for bringing back the fitter and healthier me.

For 20 years I have been a self-employed training consultant and I now work as a Senior Instructional Designer, creating content for training workshops and programmes. Both jobs required frequent travel and being on my feet for long periods of time, which was fine until about five years ago when I began to suffer lower back and pain in my legs and a cramp-like feeling in my feet that wouldn’t go away.

I tried non-surgical treatments to alleviate the pain and visited many doctors and chiropractors, but nothing worked. I also visited numerous surgeons and specialists, and after X-rays they could see that some discs in my spine had degenerated and my nerve endings were rubbing against each other.  This was probably due to years of standing through workshops. To reduce the pain they would inject my spine with cortisone and other chemicals, which worked well to begin with, but it always wore off and the pain returned gradually worsening and then spreading to my hip.

I’m a real motorcyclist enthusiast and enjoyed playing sports, both of which became almost impossible due to the pain. I also began to hunch over because it was the only way I could walk without being in excruciating pain.    

One surgeon I visited wanted to operate on my spine using a bone graft with Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF), which would consist of an operation through my stomach and ‘minimal posterior access’, leaving me with two large scars on my back. I didn’t like the sound of the scars, nor the recovery time, which required days in hospital HCU and months in a brace, but I was happy to go ahead if it meant I could live a normal life again. I was referred to Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital for a second opinion on the procedure and that’s when I met Neurosurgeon Richard Mannion. He advised that a minimally invasive operation was the best option and my insurance provider confirmed coverage. Richard explained that the two incisions would be no bigger than one and a half inches, thanks to the hospital using the new Stealth Station S7 technology – a GPS-like piece of equipment that pinpoints exactly where on the spine to operate. Richard advised that the estimated recovery time was just a few weeks (which was considerably better than I could have hoped for). Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital is really forward-thinking – the first hospital outside of London to use this technology – so I felt safe in their hands and booked my surgery immediately.

The treatment at Spire was amazing, I had everything I wanted and needed. I was very lucky as my operation was particularly successful: I entered the hospital at 4pm on a Tuesday and was on my way home at 11am the very next day – without the help of a walking stick or wheelchair – and I was working from home that Friday. From day one I noticed the pain had mostly gone and I could stand up straight for the first time in years – it seemed like a miracle![1] Just 19 days after my treatment I flew to America and within one month I was off all drugs and getting back to normal.

Four months down the line and I’m walking every day and using my motorbike again. I have been to America three times since my operation and travelling is absolutely fine. It’s as if I never had a back issue. I am taller, more confident and taking zero pain killers.   

Minimally invasive spinal procedures using the Stealth Station S7 are now available for all patients needing this treatment, so I’m really glad I’ve made a path for others suffering from the same illness.

Thank you Richard Mannion for bringing back the fitter and healthier me.


Richard Mannion comments on Neil’s case: "Having failed all non-operative treatments, this gentleman had already been offered open fusion surgery in London, though he was put off by the long recovery, post-operative HDU requirements and possible need for a blood transfusion. At the Spire Cambridge Lea, we were able to use the most advanced technology available to perform a stealth navigated minimally invasive interbody fusion. Through two keyhole incisions, his spinal problem was dealt with and he was able to go home within 24 hours of surgery. He returned to work very quickly and it is a pleasure to see him doing so well, with both his back and leg pain now a thing of the past".

Click here to read more on Mr Richard Mannion

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Simply visit your GP and ask them to refer you to a consultant who practises at Spire Cambridge Lea hospital. Your GP will write a letter of referral and then either you or your GP can contact us to arrange your first out-patient appointment on 01223 266990.  

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