Dr. Louis Magdon, new orthopedic surgeon specializing in spine ailments with Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center in Warrenton, believes that in addition to his degree and his experience, humility is an important attribute he brings to each patient appointment. “I have learned that if you listen to the patient, they are telling you the diagnosis,” he said. “The patient needs to have the floor; they need to talk.
“Some of my patients will be very disabled. They will be in a lot of pain. As a doctor, you have to remember that you may be the first person to hear their whole story. I try to be as humble as possible; it’s a privilege to be entrusted with that.”
Most of the patients Magdon will be seeing are suffering from cervical (neck) or lumbar (low back) degenerative spine disease. He explained, “As we age, the wear and tear on our spines results in degenerative disease. This process takes place over the course of decades. However, while no one is immune from developing degenerative disease, only a fraction of patients experience symptoms.”
He listed common degenerative spine conditions, including lumbar or cervical disc herniation, lumbar spinal stenosis, lumbar spondylolisthesis and cervical myelopathy.
Magdon admitted, “These medical terms can be very confusing to patients,” so he explained the diseases in terms of symptoms: “There are three sets of symptoms to note. The first is radiculopathy, or pain that radiates down the leg or arm. Patients may be aware of the term sciatica, which is just a specific and common type of radiculopathy of the lower back.
“The second set of symptoms, often occurring in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis, is another kind of leg pain called neurogenic claudication. Patients often describe cramping in their legs. Their symptoms inhibit them from being able to walk long distances, and they experience relief by sitting or leaning over with some support.”
Patients with these first two sets of symptoms, said Magdon, can initially expect conservative, nonsurgical symptom management using physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication.
The final set of symptoms Magdon described are associated with myelopathy -- a more urgent matter. Symptoms usually result from spinal cord compression in the neck, though it can occur in the upper back as well. They include feeling off-balance while walking, clumsiness in the hands, and weakness of the arms and hands. In the case of these symptoms, urgent consultation with a spine surgeon is recommended, he said. “The clinical course of patients with cervical myelopathy is not benign and, with the exception of mild cases, surgical treatment is advised.”
Other less common maladies that affect the spine are trauma – as would result from a car accident, for instance – infection or a tumor.
Magdon said that spine surgery is most commonly performed in a hospital, but some less-invasive cases may be performed in a surgery center like the Blue Ridge Orthopaedic Surgery Center at 52 West Shirley Ave. in Warrenton.
Magdon said he was looking forward to joining Blue Ridge because of the other physicians in the practice. “I was very impressed with the practice. I’m excited at the opportunity.”
Magdon, 33, obtained a Doctor of Medicine degree from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, where he grew up. After a general surgery internship at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, Magdon completed an orthopedic surgery residency at Monmouth Medical Center in New Jersey. After residency, he received sub-specialized training in spine surgery with a spine fellowship at Case Western Reserve University. He is a board-eligible orthopedic spine surgeon.
He replaces Dr. Jeffrey Wise, who retired from Blue Ridge in March.
The Blue Ridge orthopedic medical team includes six orthopedic surgeons, two pain management physicians, five physician assistants and a dozen physical therapists at Blue Ridge Physical Therapy. Blue Ridge sees patients in offices in Warrenton and Gainesville.
Magdon maintains privileges at Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton, Haymarket Medical Center, and Haymarket Surgery Center. Patients may call 540-347-9220 to schedule an appointment.
Disclaimer: The content in the above article is intended for educational purposes only. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Contact your doctor if you have a health concern.