Motorcyclist Breaks Record after Cervical Spine Surgery by Dr. Frank Phillips

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Dave Siebert, 62, of Grayslake, IL, is up for just about any physical challenge. Two of his favorite activities are wreck diving (scuba diving among shipwrecks) and racing motorcycles which he builds himself.

With a life full of adventure and high physical demands, Dave is used to orthopedic conditions. Over the past ten years, he has undergone two hip replacements, a shoulder replacement, and a broken arm. Each of these he took in stride and has experienced successful recoveries.

However, a new, gradual pain crept into Dan’s body last spring that concerned him in a different way. He could feel the strength slowly drifting from his left hand; something he called a “frostbite” effect. He could barely hold the clutch of his motorcycle. The weakness and loss of control spread to his leg, leading him to stumble and trip. “I remember falling off a chair trying to tie my shoe,” he recalls. “That’s when I knew it was bad.”

Dave consulted his orthopedic physician who told that this time the problem was a cervical spine (neck) nerve impingement. His doctor recommended that he see a specialist, specifically Dr. Frank Phillips, director of the minimally invasive spine surgery specialty at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.

After a visit to examine Dave and discuss his MRI, Dr. Phillips recommended a minimally invasive cervical fusion, which would eliminate his neck pain and restore his sensory perception, coordination, and balance issues.

Dave agreed to the procedure at Rush University Medical Center and was pleased to be home and walking within 48 hours.

“I didn’t like feeling unable to do something. Being able to walk was the first thing on my mind. Since I’ve had the surgery, I’ve been better and better.” As part of his healing, he focused on building strength and flexibility by practicing piano and yoga, and then swimming.

Just two months after surgery, Dave was even able to walk comfortably in his son’s wedding. Since then, he has graduated to the activities he loves most: wreck diving, building and racing motorcycles.

Just a year after surgery, Dave broke a national record: 15.3 seconds in a quarter mile race while riding a 1972 2-stroke Suzuki motorcycle that he rebuilt himself. He is thankful to be active again and is looking forward to a diving trip in Cozumel, Mexico this winter.

“Dr. Phillips really knew what he needed to do and he did it,” he explains. “It’s comforting when you have a doctor who is really on his game. I was very impressed with the whole experience.”


Learn more about minimally invasive spine surgery