Patient Center : Patient Stories

Jose Garcia

Neurosurgeon: Howard B. Levene, M.D., Ph.D.

Jose Garcia, a local Miami resident, visited Howard B. Levene, M.D., Ph.D. in September of 2009 to receive a consultation on his back and hip pain and the numbness in his legs that was severely inhibiting his ability to walk. His pain, originally derived from the impact experienced from a second story fall in 1986, had been intensifying for over 20 years.

Since his injury, Mr. Garcia attempted to seek treatment at multiple clinics however he only received temporary relief through electric stimulation and therapeutic massages. After years of these failed treatments, a local physician referred Mr. Garcia to Dr. Levene. Mr. Garcia was sent to Dr. Levene with MRI images of his Thoracic and Lumbar spine. Dr. Levene suspected myelopathy from cervical stenosis, and ordered a Cervical MRI as well as repeat Thoracic and Lumbar MRIs to compensate for the limited quality of the original films.

Dr. Levene, after speaking to a radiologist regarding Mr. Garcia’s MRIs, confirmed that he was correct in his preliminary diagnosis. Mr. Garcia did have cervical myelopathy, but there was an additional finding, he also had a tumor above his kidney. Dr. Levene immediately referred Mr. Garcia to Murugesan Manoharan, M.D., University of Miami Urologist, for a further workup.

“I was very concerned to find this tumor,” stated Dr. Levene. “I wanted to help Mr. Garcia, and I didn’t want it to go untreated. I contacted Dr. Manoharan, and we began to coordinate Mr. Garcia’s care.”

Dr. Manoharan further examined Mr. Garcia, conducting a second MRI and confirming the existence of a large tumor above Mr. Garcia’s kidney.

It was determined that two surgeries were necessary. Dr. Levene would first decompress the cervical spine. This would help prevent iatrogenic spine injury from positioning or blood loss for the next portion of his care. The cervical decompression occurred on November 9, 2009. On November 16, 2009 he was transferred to Dr. Manoharan who then removed his tumor.

After recovering from two successful surgeries, Dr. Levene discussed the possibility of a third sugery for Mr. Garcia. In addition to having a narrow cervical spinal canal, Mr. Garcia had a narrow lumbar spine canal. After a detailed discussion, Dr. Levene and Mr. Garcia decided that surgery on the lumbar spine would be necessary to maximize Mr. Garcia’s recovery. On April 8, 2010, Mr. Garcia received his third successful surgery.

“I am over 80% better than I was before. I am so thankful for Dr. Levene. He has a very skillful hand,” said Mr. Garcia.

Follow up tests reveal no signs of cancer and healing from the spinal surgeries is progressing normally. Mr. Garcia is still under the care of Dr. Levene and is receiving physical therapy.

“I am learning to walk through physical therapy. Before the surgeries I had numbness in my legs, and now I feel my legs and I am walking. I am doing things that I could not even imagine before. I will forever be indebted to Dr. Levene because he discovered everything and gave me a new life.”