Bill Brainard Avoided Surgery, Thanks to an Interventional Radiology Procedure

This article appeared in our Spring 2013 Update publication.

Bill Brainard of Bethel

Bill Brainard of Bethel poses with his skidder. Thanks to interventional radiology at Gifford, he is back to logging.

A year ago Bill Brainard of Bethel was in so much back pain he visited his doctor, Milt Fowler at Gifford in Randolph, for help.

“I’ve got a high tolerance for pain, but the day I was at this office, it was so bad it would almost bring tears to your eyes,” says Bill, who worked in excavation and trucking. “It hurt like heck.”

Bill had an MRI to determine the cause of his back pain. The MRI revealed a cyst in the spinal canal, which was pushing on the nerve roots that serve the legs. Surgery was an option, but is fairly invasive. A non-surgical interventional radiology procedure at Gifford – a
percutaneous rupture of the synovial cyst – seemed like a better option.

Using CT image guidance, radiologist Dr. John McIntyre accessed the cyst through the facet joint – the joint causing the cyst – and injected sterile saline, causing the cyst to fill and burst. Bill was awake for the procedure, which he called fairly painless.

When the cyst ruptured, he felt immediate relief.

“I don’t think I was in there a total of two hours,” Bill recalls. “I went right back to doing everything. It was amazing.”

Bill, 69, is now retired from the excavation business, but keeps busy logging. A year later, he is still pain-free.