August is Neurosurgery Awareness Month.

Neurosurgery involves both the brain and the spine. Doctors at Aurora BayCare Medical Center work together to provide 24-7 cutting edge neurovascular services.

For two years Rachel Kane suffered with on and off episodes of extreme back pain.

Her doctor recommended conservative non-surgical treatments like physical therapy, medications, rest and yoga. Which helped but the pain would always come back.

Then in April, she suffered her worst episode, “I couldn’t stand upright, like the only way to move was like if I was almost like curled over,” explained Rachel Kane an Aurora BayCare Medical Center patient.

While at a routine checkup with her doctor she mentioned it, “And he said if this doesn’t go away in a week or so call again and we’ll get you in for an MRI,” explained Rachel.

But the pain and symptoms only got worse, “I was literally at home crawling across my house because I couldn’t stand,” recalled Rachel.

So her doctor scheduled an MRI for that night. He then refereed the results to neurosurgeon Wesley Griffitt at Neurosurgery Clinic at Aurora BayCare Medical Center’s the next morning, “My assistant recognized the situation and got her in straight away,” said Dr. Wesley Griffitt, neurosurgeon, Aurora BayCare Medical Center.

Dr. Griffitt says Rachel needed needed surgery as soon as possible, “She had a very large herniated disc in the lowest part of her back that to some extent had damaged a nerve,” explained Dr. Griffitt.

And if she didn’t have surgery, “I think there’s a good chance that the nerve would be permanently damaged, she’d have chronic pain,” said Dr. Griffitt.

So Doctor Griffitt performed a minimally invasive lumbar microdiscectomy that very afternoon. A small incision was made in the lower back, “We open up directly over the nerves and try to identify that herniated disc,” explained Dr. Griffitt, “We try to remove compressive or loose disc fragments to get the pressure off of the nerve.”

By the next morning, Rachel woke up and, “I could walk, I had some of the feeling back in my leg that had gone away,” said Rachel.

“Came here in a wheelchair and walked out the next day,” said Dr. Griffitt.

All because of collaboration between doctors and teams within the hospital, “I see the doctors here at Aurora BayCare is because of the collaboration and because I know that they work so closely together,” said Rachel.

Aurora BayCare is the only DNV Certified Spine Surgery Center of Excellence in Wisconsin. Now, four months after surgery Rachel is back to her active lifestyle, “I’m back to exercising on a routine daily basis,” said Rachel. With no pain, “None, none what so ever, I feel great.”

And looking forward to spending more quality time with her family, “It amazed me, I mean I am so grateful to the team here at Aurora BayCare,” said Rachel.

Dr. Griffitt says herniated discs are common and most people don’t need surgery. But when it effects your life surgery could be an option to ease the pain.

To learn more you can call AuroraBayCare at 866-938-0035 or email