I took this photo last Saturday evening as I was standing on the 15th tee of Shadowridge in Palm Desert. I took the photo because I was filled with gratitude that I was able to be there, playing golf, seven months following the surgery you performed on Feb. 2. I have returned to all the activities I was unable to do in the months preceding surgery--golf, mountain biking, yoga, swimming, hiking, etc.
I simply want to thank you again for your skill, your care, your compassion--in making this possible.
"It may not be often that a patient writes to compliment your practice after being told not to have surgery. Dr. Ramin Raiszadeh did just that for me today -- while assuring me that an MRI would "certainly identify something [I could operate on]," he advised that it would most likely not mitigate my lower back pain, and suggested that continued targeted exercising may stimulate improvement. How rare, in this era of procedure-hungry doctors, to meet a surgeon who puts ethics ahead of income!
In fact, I was much impressed not only by Dr. Raiszadeh but, equally important, by every member of your staff.
Your receptionists demonstrated that their sense of responsibility extends beyond the person at the counter to include everyone waiting in your reception lobby. Your medical assistant and physician assistant combine friendliness with their professionalism, explain things in ways that laymen can understand, and are careful to ask if there's anything else they can do. Dr. Raiszadeh - even after advising that I would not be his patient - spent several minutes giving me a detailed explanation of his film-based diagnosis and allowing me to listen in on his dictation. As a 30-year mystery patient and shadow coach for low-scoring doctors, I can't help watching for the big and little things that make patients feel valued and respected. Your practice is a spectacular example of how busy professionals can put their focus on the patient, not just the pathology. Please consider me a resource for any prospective patient wondering about the reception he'll receive at your practice."
"Thank you Dr. Ramin Raiszadeh."
"What a wonderful staff you have, especially in your office and not to mention in the O.R. They are truly all compassionate and caring! I am doing as well as can be expected for a little old lady. I am healing every day and taking it one day at a time. I am happy to have you as my doctor. Thank you for all of your care."
"Thank you Dr. Ramin Raiszadeh."
Maria Antonia Padilla
I want to thank you for the wonderful job you did on my back. You put me back on my feet. You are my miracle doctor. I'll never forget the first time I cam in to see you. For some reason I knew you were the doctor that was going to do my surgery so I didn't hesitate. I am so grateful to have known you. My boys are very grateful too. I am writing on this butterfly card because this is how I feel like, a butterfly "free". My grandson has been given your name in honor of you saving me."
"Thank you Dr. Ramin Raiszadeh."
God blessed me with an introduction to Dr. Raiszadeh, Jonathan and all the Spine Institute staff, proclaimed Lola as she reflected back on her experience. Not wanting to be sedentary, Lola had pushed through her aches and pains attempting to continue her daily activities as usual. But when the pain became too much, she sought help. When I met Dr. Kamshad Raiszadeh, she recalls, he was reviewing an MRI of my cervical spine which showed a leaning spinal cord with nicks. What Lola had was severe spinal stenosis with discs bulging against her spinal cord. We talked about the danger of doing nothing versus the danger of performing surgery, Lola continued. I opted to trust Dr. Raiszadeh and have surgery (an ACDF - anterior cervical discectomy, fusion - plus corpectomy). The results... I am back to normal without any pain or debilitating side effects!
I injured my back while working with disabled children in 1999. I tried everything possible to find relief from the resulting and continually increasing low back pain. I was treated for long periods by more than four different doctors After many x-rays, MRIs, and almost every kind of therapy available, none of the doctors could determine waht the underlying problem was. It became harder and harder to just get by on a day-to-day basis. Eventually I was unable to walk or stand for more than five minutes at a time without being in unbearable pain.
Last summer I found the Spine Institute of San Diego online and quickly scheduled an appointment. Dr. Kamshad Raiszadeh took one look at my x-rays and knew exactly what was wrong at my first appointment. He determined I had a two level spondylolisthesis slippage at L4/L5 and L5/S1. He carefully explained my options and I decided to go forward with a double level fusion using his minimally invasive surgery techniques. The surgery was a total success. I knew right away my back was repaired because I could feel my toes again immediately after waking up from anesthesia. My recovery progressed very rapidly with no complications. Six months have passed and thanks to Dr. Raiszadeh and his wonderful team, I am beginning to work out at the gym. I cannot express my gratitude enough for restoring the joy of free and unrestricted movement to do the things I love most.
Raymond B. Pelka
"I have to admit I was scared to have back surgery and had been warned by many that spine surgeries don't always necessarily produce the desired outcome. I was told that it's very painful, recuperation is quite lengthy and that many end up worse off than before the surgery. I didn't want the surgery, but the pain was so bad and so unbearable that I had no other choice. My only choice was to find the right doctor. It was through the recommendation of another physician that I contacted Dr. Kamshad Raiszadeh for pioneering his extremely successful, minimally invasive surgery.
Dr. Raiszadeh is amazing! He performed the Spinal Lumber Fusion and completely cured all my back pain and spine problems, leaving only two very small (about 6cm) incisions on each side of my spine. The procedure cuts through less muscle and bypasses nerves that run along the spine so recovery is roughly half the time of what it would have been for the "normal" procedure. I was back at work in 3 weeks form the date of the surgery and within a month I was showing signs of solid bone growth. By 3 months I was out of the brace, taking physical therapy 3 days a week and started to return to my normal daily activities.
I was very lucky to find Dr. Raiszadeh and have recommended him to anyone I know that is experiencing severe back pain and sciatica. From his expert knowledge and skill to his bedside manner, he and his staff (especially his PA Jonathan Wu), are top notch! I hope I never have to have another surgery, especially spine surgery, for the rest of my life... but if I do, it will be with Dr. Kamshad Raiszadeh.
Thank you Dr. Raiszadeh!!"
Hello Dr. Raiszedeh, On today [January 26, 2012], the one year anniversary of my back surgery, I wanted to write to tell you have grateful I am for your skill and the care you provided me. Before the surgery, I was in a great deal of pain (L5-S1 herniation), loopy from narcotics, unhappy, and depressed about my future. You performed a micro-discectomy at the Carlsbad Surgery Center, and I went home the same day. The sciatic pain dissipated quickly, and after a few months of rest, I began physical therapy and by the summer I was active again. Physical activity is an essential part of my recreational life, and with moderation in mind, I am fully re-engaged (biking, hiking, etc.). I still have an occasional subtle sensation down my leg or foot, but I always try to be careful about my posture, I avoid heavy lifting, and I have an exercise routine for core strength. I am eternally grateful for your help to become the active and happy person I always was before the herniation. Thank you Dr. Raiszedeh.
Sincerely, J.R. Tozer
When Ronnie was 19 years old, he fell 30 feet while in Mexico. He was unable to move his lower extremities at all due to a broken vertebrae in his mid back crushing his spinal cord. He underwent an operation in Mexico and was transferred to Dr. Kamshad Raiszadeh's care. He was still paralyzed. Dr. Raiszadeh removed the instrumentation placed in Mexico, and replaced instrumentation after removing all the compression from the spinal cord through an extensive operation through the chest. Miraculously, Ronnie moved his toe for the first time 6 weeks after surgery when in the rehabilitation unit. He was resting in his bed with his father at the bedside. As he had done multiple times previously without avail, Dr. Raiszadeh asked Ronnie to move his feet. This time he did!! He continued his improvement and eventually began walking without assistance.
Dear Dr. Raiszadeh:
Where do I start? I can't begin to express my gratitude for your efforts in making me a success story! Your hard work and many years of schooling have enabled you to have the knowledge and guided touch of an amazing surgeon. It is that same touch that got me on the road to recovery and now these many years later, I am getting married! She is wondering and I know she is also grateful for what you have done for me. Once again, thank you, and I hope and wish for all the best things for you professionally and personally.
Dear Dr. Raiszadeh:
It is with utmost appreciation and gratitude that I thank you for giving me my life back! It has been six months since the spine surgery and I am pain free and able to do all the things I had not been able to do for years. I can walk everywhere, stand for extended lengths of time, reach overhead, shop, work out at gym, volunteer work, everything! For the first time since I retired, life and retirement are now what we all dream about!
I expected my condition to improved after surgery, but am absolutely amazed the results are beyond those expectations thanks to your skill.
You had a seminar several years ago at Alvarado Hospital I am so happy I attended. You have always explained everything and answered all my questions.
Your staff is consistently very helpful and pleasant, especially Jonathan Wu who has an enormous amount of patience and reassurance! I will refer you with confidence to anyone who is contemplating surgery.
Thank you again for the happiness I now have been able to "live again!" I am still amazed and so grateful.
Barbara J. Vallero
I cannot thank you enough for all your patience and reassurances! You have been great and I appreciate everything you did to speed along my recovery. I knew nothing about the recovery process or what to expect but you always explained everything and reassured me which is very important in that process.
As you know, I am so happy and excited now that I have been given my life back thanks to the surgery - a miracle to me! Thanks for being part of that and for all your kindness!
Very few people (in face, only one person) encouraged me to have back surgery and I heard every bad thing there could possible be about back surgery, but I am proof it is safe and totally successful! People do not realized techniques have changed so I am on a crusade to reeducate them.
Thanks again, Jonathan!
Barbara J. Vallero
Due to a traumatic injury to my back thirty five years ago, I was now at the point in my life where I could no longer brush aside the pain and associated symptoms. I was finally succumbing to the numbness, burning, difficulty ambulating, and difficulty with activities of daily living.
It became glaringly apparent that something had to be done. Knowing that surgery would likely be my only effective form of treatment, I did mot research and decided upon the right man for the job, Dr. Ramin Raiszadeh. His background and surgical record speak for themselves.
Living sixty miles from San Diego, my primary care physician was someone local. So the first thing I had to do was change my primary care physician and make it someone in the same medical group as the surgeon I chose, so I could get my necessary referral. This I did and then started making arrangements to have my very needed surgery. I have been an employee at Alvarado hospital for the past five years, so I know everyone there, and felt peace and comfort having my surgery there with friends and family.
Best wishes always to you, Dr. Ramin Raiszadeh, and all the wonderful staff at the Spine Institute of San Diego. I will always be very grateful for my spine surgery! Your world class Spine Institute of San Diego makes the world a better place.
Dx: Cervical stenosis, disc disease
I had a 4-5 & 5-6 fusion, due to a work injury and auto accident, everyone was very professional, friendly and helpful. Dr. Raiszadeh is a very dedicated experienced and caring person. I have and would highly recommend him. It was very helpful to be fully informed about the procedures and I felt very comfortable asking questions. I'm elated with my recovery and progress.
Dx: Severe kyphosis, revision surgery
Treatment has been super. Dr. Raiszadeh is terrific. I was so bent over I couldn't look straight ahead. I often felt that all I could do was to count ants on the ground since I could not look forward. I gradually got worse and worse. That's when I came to see Dr. Raiszadeh. I'm very pleased with my outcome and progress. I can now walk normally, and have a normal posture.
I am truly thankful to God that I was able to find such a great treatment from a great doctor. Dr. Raiszadeh was the most helpful and compassionate surgeon we could find, and I would definitely recommend him for anyone undergoing similar treatment.
Dx: Cervical and lumbar pseudoarthrosis
I believe that I'm receiving very good care from Dr. Raiszadeh and his office staff. I have no complaints. I am glad that Dr. Raiszadeh is my doctor. I would recommend him to anyone. Thank you, Dr. Raiszadeh.
Dx: Spondylolisthesis L5-S1
I was unable to walk or stand w/o major pain down my left leg. I am very pleased with Dr. Raiszadeh's treatment. He performed a PLIF (posterior lumbar interbody fusion) with instrumentation, and this has (so far) resolved the pain. The Dr. was very professional and caring, and I would gladly recommend him to my friends.
Dx: Lumbar stenosis, spondylolisthesis, pseudoarthrosis
Prior to surgery, I experienced excruciating pain in the lower lumbar area. The pain was so great, it was most unbearable on a day to day basis. The pain caused a great deal of agony and placed unbelievable stress in my life, I feel that the spinal fusion April 16th, has given me back my life, I am active and enjoying life again, with minimal limitations. Thanks: kudos and much appreciation to Dr. Raiszadeh and his team of assistants.
Dx: Cervical disc herniation, Cervical disc disease
I had two herniated cervical disks, C5/6 & C6/7. I had been experiencing pain my back and upper back for approximately 3 years. My pain got in the way of the things I really enjoyed doing. In my left hand and arm I had numbness and loss of strength. It has been 7 weeks since my surgery and I am "very" pleased with the outcome. I received excellent and professional treatment from the medical staff & front office personnel. Dr. Raiszadeh is very knowledgeable and took the time to explain the procedure, so that I completely understood. I had complete confidence in Dr. Raiszadeh going into my surgery. He did an excellent job! I now can enjoy my active life, thanks to Dr. Raiszadeh & staff!
Dx: Adjacent disc disease, Stenosis, spondylolisthesis
You may use any or all my comments, case and/or pictures. I have had severe lower spine problems since 1986 that actually began 1963 when I broke my neck. 1986 I had discectomy/laminectomy, 1991 I had bone fusion-both surgeries were at L4/L5 & L5/S1. I was off work & on social security for 10 years. In Dec. 1998 Dr. Raiszadeh performed surgery on my back at L3, L4 using a new technique. The surgery was rough, the recovery very hard. I was glad I prepared for the surgery by walking & swimming. Though the recovery was extremely difficult-learning to walk, sit & do many things all over. It was well worth it-I have no regrets. I'm post-op 2 years now- I work, I go to a gym & live a full active life. Prior to my surgery I could do nothing but crochet & knit.
Dx: Lumbar disc herniation
Before surgery, my right leg was in constant throbbing pain radiating from my lower down to my right calf and foot. The surgery center personnel explained everything to me and how thing work going to happen. The procedure was done and my short stay was wonderful and virtually pain free. Both staffs were extremely professional & caring. A rather large disc herniation was removed. Other than some minor numbness, I am able to function normally again, without any pain or discomfort. Thanks for everything.
This office is great as are the doctors. I would recommend them very highly. My sons care is excellent.
I walk again!
Hello Dr. Raiszadeh, I have been working full time since I was released from medical care back in May 2010. Things have been very good for me since you repaired my back. I do have occasional pain, but it is usually caused by me over doing it at work. I have learned to know my limits while working, or doing things around my house. Sometimes I feel like I never had major surgery, but when I lift too much or twist too much I know it real fast. I do have pain once in a while, but I have learned to live with it. Compared to my pain before the surgery, I feel much better now and consider it a complete success. I wanted to thank you again for what you did for me and my family. I feel there are good and bad doctors but you are the best.
"You can't compare one to the other," says David Campbell when describing his prior surgeries to the new minimally invasive surgical experience with Dr. Choll Kim and the specialized staff at Alvarado Hospital. Over the past ten years, Campbell's degenerative spine had resulted in three difficult traditional surgeries, numerous titanium plates and screws and months of recovery time. Finally, he heard a radio ad for an Alvarado spine seminar. It was there Campbell met Dr. Kim, a leader in the revolutionary field of minimally invasive spine surgery and immediately afterwards set an office appointment. According to Campbell, three key factors set Dr. Kim and Alvarado Hospital apart:
1. The Diagnosis: "I had the best doctor," establishes Campbell. "Dr. Kim did not rush into surgery. He went to great lengths examining my health conditions, reviewing my past surgeries and meticulously determining the right diagnosis, so that on the day of surgery there were no surprises. He knew exactly what needed to be done. He even removed some of the unnecessary titanium equipment that was interfering with my progress. The day after surgery, I was on my feet, the pain in my legs gone." Campbell was amazed, "It was instant relief!"
2. The Staff: "It's so different when everyone specializes in spine - they aren't just generalists - and they know what they are doing," Campbell adds. "The nurses were outstanding. There was a flawless transition from one shift to the next. Thank you, Sarah, Arlan and Andy."
3. The Spine Zone: "The Spine Zone is a crucial element of long term care," further explains Campbell. "You can't find these types of machines at a regular gym. I was supervised by a spine therapist. I've learned body mechanics and life-long lessons I can take home." Even after completing the recommended rehabilitation, Campbell still goes to the Spine Zone. "The follow-up care has made such a difference in my enjoying life again."
Since his surgery, Campbell has referred several friends to Dr.Kim and the spine team at Alvarado Hospital. "I'm his biggest fan," Campbell proclaims.
"The minimally invasive surgery was amazing... to have the pain subside so quickly. I felt the difference immediately". Jeanette is a wife and mother of two children. Ten years ago, she was in a car accident that threw her discs out of alignment. The pain and constant burning sensation in her legs made even simple tasks difficult. For a while, Jeanette endured epidural shots that enabled her to walk for a period of 24 hours per shot but eventually she underwent surgery twice and was told she may have pain forever. Luckily, Jeanette found Dr. Choll Kim, a minimally invasive spine specialist at Alvarado Hospital. Using leading-edge GPS-like Stealth technology, Dr. Kim was able to pinpoint the exact location of Jeanette's problem and perform a corrective surgery through tiny incisions. Within a day Jeanette was able to walk!
I am a 32 year old woman who would be in great health if not for a recent back problem. I was diagnosed with a herniated L4-L5 disk, degenerative disk disease, and an annulus disk tear about 2.5 years ago. After managing the first two years through regular, sustained physical therapy and medicine, the situation deteriorated so much that I could hardly walk, sit, work, or function normally, and physical therapy was no longer helping. Unsatisfied with my prior doctor, who ultimately (and exasperatedly) told me that a traditional spinal fusion was the only other option besides living in pain, I searched extensively for another opinion from the best doctor I could find. I sought long and hard, and went to visit Dr. Choll Kim of the San Diego Spine Institute. I am incredibly glad that I found him, and that I am now under his care.
Dr. Kim's resume is outstanding. He was trained at Harvard Medical School, did his residency at the Mayo Clinic, and is rated as one of the best orthopedic surgeons in the US & World News Report. Importantly, he also is a leader in the field of minimally-invasive, endoscopic surgery for spinal injuries. Minimally invasive surgery converts the barbaric and brutally invasive "old" technologies of back surgery to a version 2.0 which is much safer and makes healing much faster. The treatment is done through a tiny incision, using very advanced tools, so that your muscles and skin do not have to heal from being sliced through to reach the spine. This method reduces healing times and the rates of infection dramatically. Given the potential trauma of back surgery, I think it is incredibly important for a doctor to stay on the edge of technology, which Dr. Kim has admirably dedicated himself to...
Dear Dr. Kim,
Mabuhay from the Philippines! I just wanted to drop you a line to share with you my joy and happiness and a little news of our travels. As you may recall, my husband Ned and I, were planning to depart on a round-the-world yearlong sabbatical when you did my surgery in September, and I had been dealing with so much pain for so long that I couldn't imagine living with it any longer, much less doing anything remotely active. I am so grateful and happy to let you know the things I was able to do, pain-free, for the last few months, thanks to your gifted hands and wonderful care.
Dr. Kim, since November 15th, I've ridden camels through Rajasthan, rickshaws through the streets of Dehli, and visited Mother Theresa's orphanage and spent all day helping nuns take care of little kids. Ned and I rode a rickety bus 18 hours to the highlands of Northern Luzon, in the Philippines, and hiked through the rice terraces. We also spent a lot of time on beaches and having fun... in fact I partied til 3 am on New Years Eve and danced all night, barefoot in the sand! Prior to my surgery, by late summer, I couldn't unload my own dishwasher, much less enjoy all of these crazy adventures.
Dr. Kim, I just wanted to let you know that NONE of this could have happened without you. I am eternally grateful for your care, and for giving me an option to live a life with minimal pain when other doctors would only offer a risky, traditional spinal fusion or a hazy life on pain pills. I can't tell you how grateful I am. Thank you SO MUCH again for being awesome and for your work. I LOVE YOU! You gave me my life back, and you are truly an inspiration as a person.
La Jolla, CA
I was diagnosed with a herniated L4-L5 disk, degenerative disk disease, and an annulus disk tear about 2.5 years ago. Unsatisfied with my prior doctor, who told me that a spinal fusion was the only other option besides living in pain, I searched extensively for the best doctor I could find. I went to visit Dr. Choll Kim of the San Diego Spine Institute and am incredibly glad that I am now under his care.
Dr. Kim's resume is outstanding. He was trained at Harvard Medical School, did his residency at the Mayo Clinic, and is rated as one of the best orthopedic surgeons in the US & World News Report. Importantly, he also is a leader in the field of minimally-invasive, endoscopic surgery for spinal injuries. Minimally invasive surgery converts the barbaric and brutally invasive "old" technologies of back surgery to a version 2.0 which is much safer and makes healing much faster. The treatment is done through a tiny incision, using very advanced tools, so that your muscles and skin do not have to heal from being sliced through to reach the spine. This method reduces healing times and the rates of infection dramatically.
At our first meeting Dr. Kim went through my medical history and was fully prepared, having ordered and viewed films of my back and having reviewed old MRIs. Dr. Kim confirmed that the treatment that would potentially "fix" my problem would be a spinal fusion. I wanted to avoid the spinal fusion at all costs. Dr. Kim and I decided to continue with a new physical therapist and medicine for 4-6 weeks. He gave me his CELL PHONE NUMBER and let me know that I could call him any time. I went to a follow up meeting four weeks later, still in pain. Dr. Kim suggested a smaller surgery to "clean up" my disk. The less invasive surgery would not entirely fix my problem, but it should help reduce chronic pain. The surgery I had was theTransforaminal Endoscopic Spinal Surgery (TESS), which is shown on his website.
I was impressed with Dr. Kim's office throughout the surgery planning. Professional and organized, the office made sure that I was comfortable with all of the details of the procedure.
* 2 hours of pre-op prep work nurses
* About 15 minutes before the scheduled surgery, the anesthesiologist came to meet with me and explained the planned method of sedating me and relieving pain.
* One very important matter is that I was not given general anesthesia for the surgery. General anesthesia is one of the riskiest parts of surgery. It is not needed for this minimally invasive surgery, since the patient is not cut open.
* I was wheeled into the operating room without pain medication or sedation.
* I was laid face down and made very comfortable.
* Through my IV, the anesthesiologist gave me something sedative. He then gave me a little bit of whatever they use for general anesthesia, something for nausea, and something that almost completely took away pain.
* What they gave me as a sedative helped tremendously. I felt very relaxed and did not worry about whether they were cutting me (or not). Although I was not asleep, I did not feel them make an incision to insert the endoscopic tools for the surgery, and was not aware of when the surgery started.
* The surgery required using a tool to wide a hole between my vertebrae. Specifically that means that at some point, they drilled my bone. It did not hurt. I did feel and hear a tapping sound
* Overall, I was not panicked or upset or emotional at all during the surgery. I felt okay and did not worry, thanks to the medicine. I felt fine throughout the surgery which took about 2 hours.
* There were a few moments of pain, but nothing excruciating. I felt tingling in my toes at one point, and felt pain at one point. I let the doctor know, so that he knew he was touching various nerves.
* The surgery finished. I spent 2 hours in recovery.
* I was in pain again on the ride home, again about a level 6. I was able to walk around the house the same day. It felt like having a really bad day with back pain.
* I am resting, and expect to heal from here, with a scheduled return to work in one week.
* I am very grateful to Dr. Kim because of the respect and care with which he treats his patients. Never rushed, never callous, and truly acting in his patients' best interests. A few key things I appreciated include:
* Being given the doctor's cell phone number
* The feeling of being truly cared for.
* One final note, which I believe demonstrates Dr. Kim's care for his patients, is that Dr. Kim is out of network for most insurance companies, but he does accept insurance. I note this because it is striking in comparison to some laser surgery centers which refuse insurance altogether and charge upwards of $30k per surgery.
I am incredibly grateful that I went to Dr. Kim and that I am under his care. I hope this information is useful for you if you are making a similar decision, and wish you the best of luck.
Dear Spine Institute of San Diego,
I had the good fortune of being referred to the Spine Institute of San Diego and Dr. Paul Kim after suffering with back pain for over a year.
During that year period I was unable to work nor do activities with my family. I had tried several medical treatments with little to no relief.
Upon meeting Dr. Kim he was able to quickly diagnose my back problem and set a plan for action. While surgery is always a scary thought Dr. Kim was able to put myself and my wife at ease by answering all questions thoroughly and explained the surgery process and recovery period step by step. The surgery was a success thanks to the knowledge and experience of Dr. Kim. The follow up care I have received from Dr. Kim and his staff has been top notch and I would highly recommend the Spine Institute of San Diego!