Rapid sciatica success for grandmother

Written by: Mr Iqroop Chopra
Edited by: Karolyn Judge

A pain-free life after sciatica treatment is one that many people have to put on hold because of lengthy waiting times for operations to fix this incredibly debilitating condition.


Ms Louise Kean didn't have to deal with that eventuality, however, as she arranged a private referral to leading spinal neurosurgeon Mr Iqroop Chopra. It significantly sped up her spinal treatment and path to a quality of life she previously couldn't have dreamed of.


Her sudden onset of sciatica symptoms left her unable to stand for more than a few minutes and struggling to walk in the bank where she worked. Ms Kean's excruciating lower back pain led to her having to take time off work and even stopped her from being able to look after her grandchildren.


Ms Louise Kean and her grandchildren, smiling, sat on a sofa


Despite her GP quickly referring her to physiotherapy, her symptoms didn't improve after two NHS sessions. Discovering she'd have to wait a month for an MRI scan and potentially 85 weeks for treatment, Ms Kean set up a private appointment via her corporate health insurance.



Choosing a sciatica expert

Mr Chopra's dual qualification in spinal and neuro surgery meant that Ms Kean found it easy to choose his services, which were convenient and comprehensive. Once she selected Mr Chopra, she received a same-day appointment at his clinic at Nuffield Health Vale Hospital. As a result, an MRI scan at Nuffield Health Cardiff Bay Hospital was arranged within two days.


Ms Kean, who had a degenerative facet joint cyst, was offered spinal surgery based on the lack of improvement in her sciatica symptoms after taking every route of non-invasive treatment.


Mr Chopra recalls: "Ms Kean presented with sciatic pain in her leg with subtle weakness in her left foot. This was due to compression of her spinal nerve root due to a degenerative facet joint cyst.


"As her symptoms did not respond to non-operative management, she was offered surgery which involved removing the cyst and most of the degenerate joint to decompress the nerve with further stabilisation to the spinal segment by putting in pedicle screws."


Going into further detail, Mr Chopra spoke about how microscopic techniques assist in the procedure: "Adequate decompression of spinal nerves using a microscope helps the nerve recover, relieving the sciatic pain quickly and further restoring strength in the affected leg and foot."



A life without sciatica sooner, rather than later

After her sciatica surgery, Ms Kean found that she was free of the pre-surgery pain that had affected her daily life so much, and was able to get out of bed the next day.


She spent four nights at the hospital and couldn't have been more thankful to Mr Chopra and the healthcare team that supported her recovery: "Every member of staff at Nuffield Health's Vale Hospital was absolutely first class - all of them. The cleaners, the staff bringing food, and nurses and physiotherapists were so nice and kind.


"Mr Chopra really knows his stuff and this got me back to work much more quickly that waiting on the NHS. Without a doubt, I would recommend Mr Chopra and Nuffield's private hospitals."


And as well as getting back to work, Louise is now taking care of her three grandchildren completely free from the sciatica symptoms that were holding her back from leading a fulfilling life just a year earlier.



Visit Mr Chopra’s Top Doctors profile to arrange an appointment that could kickstart your journey to sciatica relief, or expertly address other back or spinal conditions.  

By Mr Iqroop Chopra

Mr Iqroop Chopra is a leading consultant spinal neurosurgeon based in Cardiff. His areas of expertise lie in non-operative and operative management of spinal conditions such as spinal tumours and slipped discs. He also specialises in sciatica (leg pain), neck and back pain, arm pain and minimally invasive surgery.

Mr Chopra is a spinal fellowship-trained neurosurgeon and has been practising full-time as a consultant spinal neurosurgeon at Cardiff and Vale Hospital since 2007. In addition, he also has practising privileges at Nuffield Vale Clinic & Hospital and Spire Cardiff Hospital. Mr Chopra trained in London at tertiary neurosurgical and orthopaedic hospitals and is qualified to treat spinal problems from both an orthopaedic and a neurosurgical perspective, giving him a unique approach in treating the entire spectrum of spinal conditions. In order to offer the best and most effective treatment for each and every one of his patients, Mr Chopra also works closely with radiologists, physiotherapists and pain management specialists. 

Mr Chopra has a strong interest in teaching and training, and in role-modelling strong organisational skills.  For the last few years, has been convenor of Spinal revision course and also actively involved in teaching at the Cardiff University as an honorary lecturer. He has previously been Chair, Education and Training, British Association of Spinal Surgeons (BASS) for two years. At present, he is the Clinical lead for Spinal Services at Cardiff & Vale NHS trust.

Over the past five years, Mr Chopra has also been proactively working with SpineAid; a charity involved in treating spinal deformities in children and young adults in India. This passion grew out of a desire to give back to the system and help to treat neurosurgical anomalies in deserving patients with spinal deformities who cannot afford to pay for their own surgery. Consequently, he is now working to establish medical centres in India that can offer surgery to these patients.

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