Dr. Thomas Kosztowski has a passion for caring for patients who’ve had complex spinal surgery in the past that unfortunately failed or created new back problems.
Originally from Chicago, Dr. Kosztowski is one of the newest neurosurgeons at Texas Back Institute in Plano. He completed his medical training and residency at Johns Hopkins University and was an instructor in spine surgery at Brown University before coming to Texas.
“Sometimes people will have degeneration of the spine, at adjacent levels of the spine after a previous spinal surgery. So it is important to keep up with the patient over the long-term,” he said. “My commitment is to establish a partnership with my patients to keep them healthy and living a full life.”
According to Dr. Kosztowski, after having surgery, over time, patients could suffer degeneration at adjoining levels. Patients should look for any increasing back or neck pain. New, shooting pains in the legs or arms, any numbness or tingling or any kind of weakness are also symptoms of possible degeneration. Patients might also experience difficulty walking. He said oftentimes patients will do well a couple of years after their surgery, but then can start to experience problems, resulting in Adjacent Segment Disease. This condition causes tightness above or below the levels of the fusion or where the surgery was performed and can cause new neurological symptoms.
“I enjoy taking care of people who have prior surgeries, which is particularly challenging.”
“This usually requires at least decompression of that new area of tightness. When I work with patients, I look to see if fusion from the old surgery was successful. Do they have any neurological compression? Is the spinal alignment correct or has it been thrown off or is it just normal wear and tear?” he said. “Alignment is important because it can lead to major back problems.”
Properly diagnosing the patient and why they are experiencing new problems is key for Dr. Kosztowski to determine the best treatment option for each patient, and in offering his patients individualized care.
“I enjoy taking care of people who have prior surgeries, which is particularly challenging. My background and post-graduate fellowships come into play and are really valuable,” he said. “I am used to dealing with complex surgeries and have more tools at my disposal than most surgeons because of my extensive training.”Texas Back Institute >
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