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Cagle’s spinal condition will require surgery, rest

POSTED: April 16, 2009 12:41 a.m.
SARA GUEVARA/The Times

Carter Cagle, left, bangs the gavel for his father, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, during the opening of the General Assembly's 2009 session in January.

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Although Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has announced that he will be withdrawing from the 2010 governor’s race due to a medical condition, he is expected to make a full recovery.

"I have experienced pain in my back and neck for years, but during this past legislative session, the pain worsened. At times my arm was numb and the pain would spread," said Cagle in a prepared statement.

Cagle’s condition has been treated with physical therapy and injections, but since those treatments have failed to alleviate his pain, surgery is the next step, he said Wednesday.

According to Cagle’s surgeon, who has asked to not be named, the lieutenant governor has "sustained significant nerve damage in his neck, which requires prompt surgical treatment. His prognosis for a full recovery is excellent, but this is a challenging surgery and one that will require time for rest and recovery."

Although Cagle’s specific condition has not been named, there are several surgical options for treating degenerative spinal conditions.

One option includes removing a portion of the spine that may be pressing on a nerve and then fusing the adjacent discs together. Another option includes removing the damaged spinal disc and replacing it with an artificial one.

Although actual incisions from such surgeries generally heal in a week or two, it can take several months for patients to recover from the procedures.

"While his activities will be limited temporarily, we expect (Cagle) to remain fully capable of performing the duties of his position for almost all of the treatment and recovery period," Cagle’s surgeon said in a prepared statement.

"If the surgery proceeds without complications and no further issues are revealed, he is expected to be back at full speed well in advance of the next legislative session."



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