Broadway Dancer Returns to Stage After Minimally Invasive XLIF

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Oneika Phillips, Broadway dancer, reclaims career after undergoing minimally invasive XLIF by New York City Spine Director, Dr. Daveed Frazier.

“Only one and a half years later, I was back on stage! Dancing, jumping, exerting energy and physical effort to almost 100% capacity.” - Oneika Phillips

It was nearing the end of 2015 and quite possibly the end of her career. According to conclusive x-rays of her lumbar spine, Broadway dancer Oneika Phillips had amassed a lifetime’s worth of degenerative injuries.

Diagnostic imaging revealed a collapsed lumbar disc flanked by a network of pinched nerves and strained ligaments. Years of graceful back-bends had compounded this bone-on-bone stress until the agonizing pain had finally driven Phillips to seek the guidance of an orthopedic spine surgeon.

After a careful review of Phillips’ x-rays, Dr. Daveed Frazier—Harvard-trained spine surgeon and Director of New York City Spine—knew exactly how to resolve the problem. Dr. Frazier would perform a minimally invasive spinal procedure, known as the Nuvasive XLIF, to repair Phillips’ lumbar spine.

Phillips recalls experiencing initial apprehension about the procedure: “Seeing my trepidation, Dr. Frazier walked me through all aspects of the surgery, including what my recovery would entail and why this was the best procedure for me. The operation would mean taking a full year off of the Broadway stage, but not without good reason. Dr. Frazier’s exemplary skill and advice would ultimately guarantee my safe return to the professional performing arena.”

Minimally invasive spine procedures, like the Nuvasive XLIF, have undergone tremendous improvements in surgical outcomes over the last 30 years. As Dr. Frazier explains, “Over the last three decades, spine surgery has truly come a long way. What previously took over 8 hours and required a 5-7 day stay in the hospital can now be accomplished in less than one hour in an outpatient facility.”

Of course, not all orthopedic conditions require—or even qualify—for minimally invasive spine surgery. As Dr. Frazier observes, “The vast majority of our patients improve with conservative interventions, like physical therapy. Other times, traditional surgical techniques provide the best solutions.”

However, Phillips’ condition made her a prime candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery. Like many other patients who undergo the same procedure, Phillips was shocked by the speed and quality of her recovery.

“Within hours of waking from surgery, I was on my feet. And, only one and a half years later, I was back on stage! Dancing, jumping, exerting energy and physical effort to almost 100% capacity,” says Phillips.

Three years post-surgery, Phillips feels “free to take on any task without pain.” And, that includes dancing in the 12-time Tony-nominated production of Broadway’s “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

When it comes to Dr. Frazier, Phillips has only gratitude to express: “I highly and fully recommend this man’s cutting-edge knowledge and award-winning surgical capability. Without exaggeration, Dr. Frazier has not only saved my career, but he has also saved my life!”

Dr. Frazier, board-certified and Harvard-trained spine surgeon, delivers his award-winning spine services at his New York City Spine office locations in Manhattan, NY and Morristown, NJ.

Photo Credit: Kyle Hamilton

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Dr. Daveed Frazier
since: 06/2013
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Daveed Frazier, MD
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