David Echols

Birmingham, AL

Conditions + Treatments

Medical Icon Spine Fusion

It had been many years that I had been suffering from low back pain and sciatic attacks, many trips to urgent care centers and sometimes even to emergency rooms. I had sought treatment at my usual orthopedist and while he did see some issue with degenerative discs, he felt I was too young and that the situation was not serious enough to go through any type surgery. His only offer of treatment was pain blocks which I had several of but they did not cure my problem they only delayed the return of the pain and the sciatic issues. I feared that until it got to a point I could not walk my best friends would be Toradol and pain blocks.

A year after switching to Dr. Cain at Andrews for my knee issues, I decided to seek another doctor to look into my back problems. I did my due diligence and I did a lot of online research and read a lot of reviews and the one name that stood out was Dr. Andrew Cordover. I then turned my research towards him and determined he was the doctor I wanted to see.

When I was able to get in to see him, we discussed all of my prior attempts at relief and he reviewed the last MRI and X-Rays that were available from my previous surgeon. He explained my options extensively, from surgical and non-surgical, and judging from my pain only worsening over time he recommended a new MRI and we would discuss options after this was performed.

Following this MRI, Dr. Cordover could see obvious issues at L5-S1. After talking about it, I pretty much begged him for surgery to make the pain go away. He ordered a diskography. He explained to me and made sure I understood how badly this procedure was going to hurt, but it was necessary to determine the next steps. Dr. Carnel performed the diskography and let’s just say Dr. C. didn’t lie about the pain.

On my next visit Dr. Cordover explained to me that the L5-S1 disk was pretty much shot and told me I was a candidate for a single fusion at that disk space. He explained to me, again, extensively all of the risks associated with this surgery and there were many, however he had attained my confidence and I was ready. He explained that Dr. Bullock would be assisting and his assistant Christina set up an appointment for me to meet him and discuss what his part would be in this surgery. Additionally I had researched this fusion process and its failure rate was highest in smokers of which I was one. Dr. C advised me it would be best if I would quit.

My very first visit with Dr. Cordover was in February 2016 and my surgery was performed in May 2016. I point out this lengthy time frame because it is important to me that Dr. Cordover did not rush into this. He made certain to know what the problem was, and to make sure I understood what the problem was. He stressed the importance of my understanding that this was major surgery, he wanted me to be 100% sure that this is what I wanted to do. I am also thankful that he did not recommend just doing more pain blocks.

I am one year out from surgery now and I can honestly say Dr. Cordover was my saving grace when it came to my back pain and sciatica. My confidence in him and my decision to have this surgery was the best thing I ever could have done. I am not 100% pain free yet but there have been no urgent care center or emergency room visits since the surgery.  I would like to also point out that at his recommendation, I have also been smoke-free for a year.

I am sorry this is lengthy but it is important to me to recognize good people and good work.  During my post-op period I have emailed Christina more times than I can count and she is always so very helpful. She is always friendly and professional both in the office and in her emails. Although few, the interactions that I had with Christi were pleasant as well. Although I have only seen her for my last 2 or 3 visits, Daryl, the P.A. is a pleasure to be around, always smiling. While I don’t have their names, the other staff I encountered during all of this visits have also been very kind; the front desk staff, the x-ray staff and staff in the hallway I didn’t even know.

Lastly, of course I send accolades to Dr. Cordover. He did what I thought could not or was not going to get done and that was to relieve my pain significantly.


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Andrew M. Cordover, MD, MS
Andrew M. Cordover, MD, MS View Bio