Patient Stories

Gail Moser spine surgery patientSpine Surgery

Gail Moser's spinal stenosis was pressing on the root of her sciatic nerve, causing pain that followed the nerve down her leg. Read Gail's story.

Spine Surgery

Back pain is a very common occurrence that most people experience at some point in their life. The pain can vary from mild to severe and it can begin suddenly or slowly depending on the cause. In some cases, back pain will subside in a few days, in others, some treatment is necessary. Milford Regional’s orthopedic spine surgeon, Dr. Mitchell Hardenbrook, believes that non-surgical treatment is the ideal way to obtain back pain relief and there are a number of options that should be explored prior to considering surgery.

Non-surgical Treatment Options

Physical therapy


Steroidal injections

Electrical stimulation

Ultrasound treatment

Speak to your primary care physician to decide which treatment may be best for you. Stuart Dunbar, MD is Milford Regional’s pain management specialist who can administer some of these treatments or you may want to begin with physical therapy at one of Milford Regional’s Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine facilities in Milford, Franklin or Northbridge.


When non-surgical treatments are not successful in eliminating your back pain, surgery may be the best solution for you. Our Surgery Center includes eight state-of-the-art surgical suites outfitted with some of the most sophisticated surgical equipment available. Some of the surgical suites are equipped with laminar flow ventilation which provides an added layer of protection against infections during sensitive orthopedic procedures.

Prior to your first visit with Dr. Hardenbrook, you will be asked to undergo an MRI or CT scan of the area of the spine that is causing the pain. During your first appointment you will receive a complete evaluation including a physical exam and medical history. Based on the evaluation and diagnostic test results, Dr. Hardenbrook will diagnose your back condition and make treatment recommendations.

Dr. Hardenbrook specializes in minimally invasive surgery and many of the surgeries he performs can be done with this approach. There are many benefits of minimally invasive surgery for the patient including smaller surgical scars, faster recovery, less pain, fewer complications and a shorter hospital stay. These procedures are often performed as an outpatient surgery or with a 1-2 night stay in the hospital.

Conditions Treated

Degenerative disc disease

Herniated disc


Spinal cord compression

Spinal stenosis


Milford Regional’s partnership with Dr. Hardenbrook has brought his expertise to the hospital, beginning with more common spinal operations. We will be adding more complex approaches in the months ahead.

The surgical procedures currently being offered at Milford Regional include:

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a surgical procedure in which a damaged intervertebral disc in the neck region is removed and the vertebrae above and below are fused together. Certain spine disorders, for example, herniated/degenerative disc and spinal instability, spinal stenosis, spondylosis, and myelopathy can be successfully treated with ACDF.

Spine disorders may cause nerve impingement or intrude into the space surrounding the spinal cord, resulting in neck, shoulder, or arm pain. Patients may also experience numbness, tingling, clumsiness, or weakness in the arms or hands. The goal of ACDF is to decompress the nerve root(s) and spinal cord, stabilize the neck, and relieve symptoms.


Discectomy or microdiscectomy is one of the most common minimally invasive spine surgery procedures. The primary goal of a microdiscectomy is to take pressure off your nerves to ease pain and symptoms associated with a bulging or herniated disc.

Traditional open discectomies have long been used to remove damaged intervertebral discs and relieve pressure on nerves at the cost of a large incision and disruption of muscle tissue. Microdiscectomies have the same goal but utilize unique instruments and visualization tools that permit the surgeon to make very small cuts and reduce surgical trauma.


A laminectomy may be indicated to relieve pressure on a nerve or to get better access to other parts of your vertebrae. Spinal conditions that may be treated by a laminectomy include spinal stenosis and herniated discs.

The lamina is a bony component of your spine abutting your spinal canal. A laminectomy (the total amount elimination of the lamina) or a laminotomy (eliminating part of the lamina) may be required to relieve nerve or spinal cord squeezing caused by your lamina. During a conventional laminectomy, both of the lamina are typically removed. Hemilaminectomy, however, involves only the removal of one of the lamina.


Mitchell Hardenbrook, MD, orthopedic spine surgeonMitchell Hardenbrook, MD graduated with a degree in medicine from Hahnemann University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA in 1997. He performed his residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center-Shock Trauma Center, Baltimore, MD. Dr. Hardenbrook continued his training with a fellowship in spine surgery at New England Baptist Hospital and Tufts University, Boston, MA.

Dr. Hardenbrook has served in the US Navy ascending to the rank of Liuetenant Commander, and held the position of Director of Spine Surgery at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia.

Board certified in orthopedic spine surgery, Dr. Hardenbrook is the founder and director of The Advanced Spine Institute of Greater Boston. He specializes in minimally invasive muscle-sparing approaches to the cervical and lumbar spine and motion preservation. He is also an assistant clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at Tufts University School of Medicine. Office visits with Dr. Hardenbrook are available at Milford Regional and appointments can be made by calling 508-297-8500.


Patients should call to pre-register up to two weeks in advance for any scheduled surgery and out-patient appointment including most diagnostic tests, lab work and pre-operative testing. This eliminates the need to wait for an admissions representative upon arrival. Patients can go directly to their point of service. Admissions representatives are available to take calls from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

Please call 508-422-2222.

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