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A Patient Story: David Dunlap

Posted on June 23, 2020
David Dunlap, neurosurgery patient of Jeffrey Albea, MD
David Dunlap

After having undergone laminectomy and fusion procedures to help his lower back, David Dunlap, 66, was getting a sense of déjà vu.

“I started recognizing the same sensations, but instead of being in my legs, it was now going on in my arms, shoulders, hands and fingers.” – David Dunlap

The tingling, numbness and discomfort weren’t the only problems. David literally lost his grip, dropping things that he couldn’t keep in his hands.

Quality of Life

Before retirement, David had a thriving career as a certified therapeutic recreational therapist. He has been active throughout his adult life and wanted to keep moving through his retirement.

“I want quality of life, not just a manageable life.” – David Dunlap

But David was losing the ability to swing a golf club and manage the strings on his guitar. While he was losing the ability to effectively use his fingers, he could feel his quality of life slipping through them at the same time.

TN Brain and Spine neurosurgeon Jeffrey Albea, MD says David was suffering from pressure on nerve roots.

“When there is pressure on the nerve roots and they are dysfunctional, multiple symptoms can occur including pain, numbness and tingling, weakness, and dis-coordination. Symptoms occur due to mechanical compression as well as reduced blood flow to the nerve roots.” – Jeffrey Albea, MD

Finding the Answer – Neck Surgery

“There are various techniques to relieve this pressure and, in this particular case, an anterior cervical approach was optimal.” – Jeffrey Albea, MD

Anterior cervical fusion is a procedure to remove a herniated or degenerative disc in the neck. It can relieve neck or arm pain caused by pinched nerves.

The anterior cervical fusion was performed in January 2020. As soon as David returned home he was able to strum his guitar again. Before summertime, he was back on stage with the band, and knew that golf wouldn’t be far behind.

At times when the recovery process was difficult, he counted on Dr. Albea and staff for help and support.

“Thank God they were there for me when I was struggling.” – David Dunlap

Today, David is very vocal about his appreciation for the surgery he underwent at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center and the surgeon who performed it. For anyone in pain from spine and nerve problems, or for those who may be afraid of spine surgery, David says he simply recommends trusting the experts like he did, from start to finish.    

“You’ll be amazed what a difference it makes in the quality of your life. It’s probably one of the best things that has happened to me. It has given me the quality of life that I have missed and that I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for the surgery and for Dr. Albea and his team.” – David Dunlap


Learn More

If you’re experiencing neck pain that radiates to the shoulders or arms, and includes weakness, tingling, or numbness in the upper extremities, call us at (865) 331-2835. No physician referral is necessary.

Disclaimer: please note that this information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice. If you have a specific medical question or issue, we encourage you to call our office at (865) 331-2835 and schedule an appointment.


About Dr. Albea

Jeffrey Albea, MD
Jeffrey Albea, MD

Jeffrey Albea, MD is board certified in neurosurgery. Click here to view his profile. He is accepting new patients, and you can schedule an appointment by calling (865) 331-2835


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