Share Your Experience!
Discover what our patients have to say regarding their office visit, surgical experience or recovery process. We also encourage our existing patients to share their own experience!
Hello, my name is Ruchi and I am from Las Vegas, NV. I was diagnosed with a sister cyst of Tarlov in 2013. The neurosurgeon in Vegas told me that I have to live with it and there is nothing which could help me. I went under depression because of excruciating pain at my tailbone, I was not able to sit more than 20 minutes and nerve pain going into my right leg was horrible. It took my Docter at least a year to discover that I have a cyst in my spine and also I was told by my pain management doctor that the pain is in my head . So I started googling about my disease and came across Dr. Feigenbaum from Dallas. When I talked to him on the phone, I couldn’t believe that he actually understands my pain and all the symptoms. It took me a while to decide on surgery, but finally I said yes for the surgery and November 3rd, I flew to Dallas, met the Docter for the first time, and November 4th he performed the surgery on me. The staff at Pine Creek Medical Center is very nice. Dr Feigunbaum is an angel. I am pain free and back to normal life. He actually had to reconstruct my sacrum and took my cyst out. Thank you Dr. Feigenbaum 🙏
If you are reading this, you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Tarlov or Meningeal Cysts, and are doing research to find someone to help. Well, you have found that someone. Dr. Feigenbaum is kind and understanding about what you are going through. He and his staff explain everything on your level so that you understand everything that is going to happen even before you ask one question. I am a month and a half post-op. I had no life at all pre surgery. The pain kept me on the couch or in the bed 22 hours daily. My best friend was the heating pad. When I finally received the correct diagnosis, I sent my MRI and report to Shands, Mayo Clinic, and all the top notch Neurosurgeons in town or surrounding areas. No one would or could help me. They do not have the experience or know how to treat this rare disease. Some of them haven't even heard of this disease. Now that's a little frightening. So I did my research like you are and found Dr. Feigenbaum. Twenty two years experience and has perfected a procedure to get rid of these cysts. That spoke volumes to me. A couple of days after surgery they had me walking the halls of the hospital. I hadn't walked that far in years. Now I can walk a little every day and sit longer than I could before. Dr. Feigenbaum told me that it wouldn't take overnight for you to get this way and it's going to take time to heal. Dr. Feigenbaum is an angel in disguise. A brilliant surgeon! His staff is just as wonderful as he is. I would recommend him to anyone. And no, I am not being payed to write this testimonial, this is how I truly feel. Still miss my heating pad.
April of 2016, I woke up with pain going down my leg and into my back, making it difficult to walk, sleep or get comfortable. At first, the thought was lower back disc herniation, but the MRI did not support that finding. The next doctor thought it was hip/muscular, but the next MRI did not support either. Meanwhile, the pain continued and I found it difficult to stand after sitting for a while in a plane or in my bosses office; there was difficulty sleeping and pain that radiated down my thigh. I finally went to a pain doctor, who looked at my films and showed me a tarlov cyst. He scheduled a nerve block to see if we could determine if the cyst was the cause of my pain. After I woke up, I had no pain for the next 8-10 hours, and I was happy to know finally what was causing my pain. He referred me back to my Orthopedic Back doctor who said I needed to go to Dr. Feigenbaum. I did, and then after my initial visit, found out I had two of these cysts, and decided to go ahead with the surgery. My surgery was this past May, and I must say from the moment I woke up, I have never felt any pain like I had for the past 1 1/2 years. I haven't taken any medication for pain or nerve pain, and I am working out again, to rebuild my strength and stamina. My head is clear of all of the medicines, I can sleep without waking up all night long and I can function normally in my life. I am very thankful.
2 years post surgery performed in Cyprus January 2015
Pre-surgery from Dr. Feigenbaum, I was in such distress with pain and lifestyle inconvenience; I was distraught with how to deal with this until speaking with Dr Feigenbaum and Debbie which gave me hope.
I can say improvement has been gradual but always progressive to date.
As of right now, I can drive my car for up to 2 hours with not much more effect than general stiffness. Before surgery I refused to sit at all. Now my perineum pain is gone and waterworks I think is normal for a man of my age. Previously anything from 6 to 10 trips to the loo through the night. Now only once.
I am so grateful for the skill and knowledge of Dr. Feigenbaum to be able to give me a quality of life which has to be appreciated when it seemed the rest of the medical profession were in denial with this condition.
My sincere thanks to Dr. Feigenbaum and to Debbie.
Dear Dr. Feigenbaum, I am so blessed to have had the expertise of Dr. Frank Feigenbaum when he performed a very complicated procedure that involved the sacro-spinal canal. I had multiple, large, intra-sacral meningeal (tarlov) cysts within the canal that caused sacral nerve root compression. This area was extremely thinned out due to the sacral lamina erosion by the cysts in the spinal canal. To finally find an end to such horrendous nerve pain is unbelievable to say the least. This surgery was totally successful and I now have my life back again!! I had such horrible nerve pain that began in June of 2016 and was so debilitating. The pain could last from seconds to minutes and several times it lasted for hours that it seemed there was no end to the pain. I could only describe it as "an electric shock", a "lightning bolt", or sticking your finger in an electric outlet or socket as it went ZZZ, ZZZ, ZZZ or zap, zap, zap. It took my breath away each time & I spent moments in prayer begging for it to go away. I normally have good pain tolerance as I deal with the ups and downs of MS along with FMD (fibromuscular dysplasia) and chronic Lyme. Since my surgery date of January 2017, I am so elated that I have NO nerve pain (except for only 2 days in a row of short, light twinges) I am so thankful and grateful to Dr. Frank Feigenbaum for an effective and outstanding repair of what could have been a lifetime of Hell. He worked on 6 Tarlov Cysts with 2 of them causing nerve root compression. Those that know me to be a "go-get-um", "fix it" and "get ur done" type will now be dancing with me on the docks of Walloon Lake as I am now "back, walking" in those shoes. I give Dr. Feigenbaum a 10 out of 10, he is an amazing physician!!!! FYI, Pine Creek Medical Center was fantastic as well. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Dr. Feigenbaum!
Shelley from Kansas
- Anterior Sacral Tarlov cysts
Eight weeks ago I had surgery on the anterior bilateral S1 nerves and it was a complete success! I have absolutely no pain from these cysts, unless I overdo it. I'm very grateful! I still have other cysts that need to be worked on both in my sacrum and upper back.
Sabrina from Kentucky
I had 9 Tarlov cysts treated in September of 2016. I still have more intrasacral, but I feel so BLESSED. I can now sit in an office chair for more than 15 minutes without complete agony. I stand without pain, I no longer limp. My pain and numbness are dissipating. I noticed the most significant difference in healing between month 5 and 6. I finally ran for the first time, just to test myself. I know my body is still healing, but It has definitely gotten better. I am so glad I chose to go through with it, and If the intrasacral sacs become an issue, then I won't hesitate to have them treated as well. The nurses and staff at Pine Creek Medical Center were beyond wonderful and I express the most gratitude for them.
Michelle from Australia
I had surgery on 4 Tarlov Cysts in February 2016 after years of hip and leg pain and then closer to my surgery date, numbness in my foot and toes. After surgery with Dr F I can do almost anything again and most days have no pain at all. My lower back does pain and I still get tingling in my legs if I overdo things, but I am walking, gardening and generally living life again, thanks to Dr F. Also the aftercare I have received from Debbie via email has been fantastic. Nothing is too small an issue for her to answer and she replies very promptly, even on the weekend. So thank you Debbie and thank you Dr F. Also the care we were given in Cyprus was wonderful from the time we arrived until the time we boarded our flight to come home.
Anna from Alabama
- Meningeal Diverticulum and Detethering
I would say my pain started somewhere around 2007. I got to a point where I was in pain every single day, without fail. My lumbar area, buttocks, & even down the side of my thigh to right behind the knee was even sore to the touch. It felt constantly bruised. After countless doctorsâ visits, with many different kinds of doctors I got the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. I did have an MRI in 2010, & the orthopedic doctor referred me to a Neurosurgeon who said that the cyst was fine. It could stay right there forever, no big deal, lots of people live with them. Okay so I did. I was. Fast forward, June 2016, I stepped out of the passenger side of my truck to enter a place of business when I was struck on my left side by a truck that came airborne off the nearby elevated highway. After that I couldn't sit, stand, walk, sleep, etc. without pain. I began to avoid stairs & walking long distances. I began to miss my kids ball games, & miss work because the pain was so intense. I did 12 weeks of physical therapy only to be told I was going backwards in their recovery process. After the PT & ordering doctor discussed this they decided we would order an MRI with contrast. (We did a MRI & X-rays immediately after the car accident & their initial diagnosis was deep tissue bruising, just banged up). This MRI report said there was a very prominent Tarlov cyst present in my sacral area. Now that the cyst had a name I began to do my own research. That's where I found Dr. F & his website / studies had so much information!! I also found out that if these cyst suffer trauma they could grow in size. Mine had done exactly that! Unfortunately I don't have a screenshot or picture of my cyst in 2010, but it was only slightly larger than the one on the left from what I remember. Maybe the size of a half dollar. The picture on the right was mine after the accident, & what Dr. F removed. He & his staff did a wonderful job!! Though I'm still waiting on the nerves to completely settle down I have faith they will!! I am 7 weeks post op & already I can tell a huge difference!! I have high hopes for my recovery & will be forever grateful to Dr. Frank Feigenbaum & his amazing staff!!
Barb from Ohio
- Sacral Tarlov Cysts Treatment
I had suffered with Tarlov Cysts for almost 5 years. I had been to several doctors who told me nothing was wrong with me and they had no explanation for my pain. Once Dr. Feigenbaum looked at my MRI he told me I had 5 cysts and that I was a good surgical candidate. I had surgery in February of 2017 and I am starting to get my life back. Dr. Feigenbaum has been able to give me hope again. I highly recommend Dr. Feigenbaum to anyone suffering from Tarlov Cysts.
If you have come across this website it is because you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Tarlov Cysts or some other kind of rare Spinal Cysts. You have probably been told by many specialists that there is nothing that can be done for you, but that is not true. For more years than I care to remember and more neurosurgeons than I can name, I was told that my Tarlov Cysts were incidental and could not be operated on. I was told that they were not the cause of my chronic pain. I had some other issues that were showing up on my MRI and so all my doctors concentrated on those minor issues that ended up not being the cause of the pain. I had several epidural steroid injections with the last two not even touching the pain. After doing some online research I stumbled across Dr. Feigenbaum's website. I read all the information and patient testimonials and decided to contact his office. I filled out the paperwork and mailed it in with my MRI and waited. When I got the call from Dr. Feigenbaum and he told me that he could actually help me I was amazed. I had to have him repeat it because everyone else said there was nothing to be done. The only down side to the whole thing was that I had to travel to Texas for the procedure. I live in Maine so it wasn't someplace I could just drive too easily. When reading the MRI, it looked like I only had 2 large cysts in my Sacrum, but after Dr. Feigenbaum opened me up, he found a cluster of 5 large cysts with two more in my pelvis. The cysts had caused quite a bit of erosion to my Sacrum which had to be reconstructed with what Dr. Feigenbaum calls a "man hole cover". This will take 2 years to absorb into my body, but the results will be a very strong Sacrum again. I still have the cysts in my pelvis, but at this point they are not causing me any pain or damage. I had the surgery 8 months ago and I feel like I have my life back again. My pain is almost completely gone. I only needed to use half of the pain meds that I left the hospital with and now only need NASAID's once and a while. My migraines have decreased 90%. I can sit, stand, lay down, and walk for as long as I want to but prior to surgery these things could be torture for any length of time. I highly recommend this procedure to anyone suffering with Tarlov Cysts. Dr. Feigenbaum has the best staff and I had the best care at Pine Creek Medical. Prior to surgery, my primary care doctor was going to start the process of signing me up for total disability -- that is how bad I was. He just recently gave me a note telling my employer that there was no reason I couldn't work 40 hours again! So to Dr. Feigenbaum and his entire staff -- Thank you so much for doing what you do and giving people pain free lives again!!
“...I don't regret my surgery for one moment. I have greatly improved since having it and would have done the same thing all over again. Dr. Feigenbaum and his team are miracle workers.
My wife and daughters and I would all like to thank Dr. Feigenbaum and the entire team for all your help and support in pursuing my appeal.”
“I am 4 years post surgical today. I want to tell all patients that even though the monitoring ends at 2 years, you are not done healing.
Keep the faith and the future can keep improving.
At an active 59 years old (ballet classes and all), I developed the nightmare of a symptomatic Tarlov Cyst. By the time I had the surgery, I had experienced a misguided decision to have a procedure at Hopkins that was totally messed up (by a nurse who sat me upright after the spinal procedure, despite my pleas)....till a phone call came...too late!
I was in agony and bed ridden about 85% of each day and could no longer put one foot in front of the other. Then I had the surgery with Dr. Feigenbaum and his team. Miracle when they first got me up....the next day!....and I could put one foot in front of the other. I cried for joy and grinned like a Cheshire Cat as I wobbled down the hall.
Yet because of my Hopkins experience and slow diagnosis due to the rarity of knowledge about the condition, I sustained lots of nerve damage.
I continued on Tramadol (NSAIDS no longer an option because I developed an ulcer, hiatal hernia, etc. from trying to avoid prescription medications) and went off after about 2 years to Duloxetine (40 mg), which I have just stopped after about 2 years (warning-not easy to stop, so research before beginning!). But it did help me while I was on it and I only supplemented with Acetaminophen...fast relief was especially effective.
Never thought I would travel, as I had dreamed about doing after retiring, but I have! In Italy, 3 years after my surgery, I left my cane in the AirBNB and climbed every step in the Tower of Pisa and Brunelleschi's Dome. I still have difficulty sitting but have been able to walk more and more.....couldn't do a quarter mile at first. The crowning gift of healing from Dr Feigenbaum's skill was a bucket list trip to New Zealand and Australia. Yes the plane ride had me circling the seats, but I made it! To top it off, I hiked up my first mountain since before my Tarlov nightmare - Mt Wellington, NZ. I cried tears of joy and took the above photo to send to Dr Feigenbaum. Not a day goes by that my thoughts and heart does not thank him and his staff. Not only were they skilled and wonderful pre, during and post surgery, but you remain their patient forever, and they have helped and reassured me numerous times. I often beg to be charged! I will never be able to thank Dr. Feigenbaum enough. He gave me my life back with my family, and a life that that is full of wonder and possibility.
I now walk from one end of Manhattan to another and as often as I can, I avoid public transportation. I relish my gift and give thanks for each beautiful step and adventure made possible by the amazing skill and dedication of Dr. Feigenbaum and his staff.
Heartfelt and forever thanks!”
Rebecca from Ohio
- Tarlov Cyst Surgery at the S1 Nerve Root
“I had a 1.9cm Tarlov cyst on the left S1 nerve root, deep inside my sacral cavity. This caused bone erosion and nerve compression resulting in the tumultuous nerve pain you all know too well. I had been in dire pain for about two years prior to my surgery and had been out of work due to the pain for over a year.
12/17/09 is the day I was reborn. Although the first two months of healing after surgery were probably the hardest to deal with during my whole Tarlov life, I still consider this single action by my hero, Dr. Feigenbaum, as the point in time where I gained my life back.
Here are some of my proudest benchmark moments:
- 3 months post-op: Returned to work full-time (sitting!), skied down a black diamond
- 7 months post-op: Drove a Penske truck across the country from California to Ohio in 4 days, averaging 12-14 hours of driving a day, and even loaded and unloaded two huge trucks
- 8 months post-op: Played in my old softball league (and continued playing in a league yearly)
- 9 months post-op: Went white water rafting for 6 hours in class V/VI rapids (this has been an annual trip ever since)
- (Almost) 6 years post-op: Went skydiving
I cannot say that I am back to 100% compared to how I felt before the Tarlov pain, but I can say that I have 100% of my life back. I no longer am limited by the residual pain left behind. My affected leg still randomly hurts, throbs, cramps, spasms, etc., but it is VERY minuscule compared to the pain I was living with prior to surgery. Throughout the past 4 years, I have often worked 12-16 hour days sitting at a desk, and although sometimes bothersome, the pain never becomes impeding.
So to Dr. Feigenbaum, I would again like to express my most sincere gratitude for your research and interest in this rare disease. Thank you for taking the time to develop new and effective treatments to give your patients their quality of life back, instead of telling them to âlearn to cope with the painâ, like so many other providers have done. My children are grateful to you as well for giving them their mom back.
To those who are still suffering and feel there may never be a salvation for them, please don't ever give up. Be a fighter because your life is worth it and you can regain control of it.”
- Tarlov Cyst Surgery over 5 years ago and still very pleased
“I am a 57 year old female and I can remember having cyst symptoms as early as 10 years old. I've had tingling, burning and numbness in my buttocks and thighs along with neuropathy type symptoms in my feet for years. After an MRI when I was in my 30's, I was told these symptoms were due to a bulging disc. After my 5th child, I was no longer able to lie on my back due to the burning and I was unable to walk barefoot for the same reason. I was just putting up with all of this because I thought I had no choice. It wasn't horrible, just annoying. Then in June of 2005, I woke up one morning and was unable to walk without pain in my back. As the day progressed, so did the pain. My chiropractor scheduled another MRI and found nothing other than some tarlov cysts that were, he felt, not causing the problem. He referred me to an orthopedic. This doctor felt that the cysts were causing the pain and referred me to a neurosurgeon. What followed was months of testing and misdiagnosis. I had scans and biopsies. I was even told that the pain was due to tumors that were inside of the cysts, that they were inoperable and that I would have to live with the pain. This was the opinion of the entire neurosurgeon board of Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans. By this time, the flare up had calmed down some, but the daily pain was steadily climbing. After two years, I started with a pain mgmt doctor. They referred me to the top neurosurgeon at LSU Medical Center, also in New Orleans. Again, I was subjected to a series of tests, with the result being that I was told the same thing that Ochsner had told me. Inoperable and I would have to live with the pain. After another two years, the pain was getting steadily worse. By this time, I was on the highest dose of Lyrica and Ultram ER, along with Vicodin for breakthrough pain.
I was also on a double dose of Vesicare everyday because the bladder frequency was horrible. Somedays I felt chained to the toilet. I couldn't sleep anymore because of feeling like I always had to urinate. I also was having to do enemas frequently because sometimes my colon would just decide it didn't want to work. The pain was taking over my life, and the all the pain meds I was taking was making me a useless vegetable living on the couch. Again, I thought I had no choice but to live with it, the only problem was that I was no longer living. I have 5 children. My youngest, at this time, was 12, and I was at the point where I could no longer care for any of them. One day I stumbled across a forum on the National Organization of Rare Diseases and there were some posts on there that were talking about a Dr. Feigenbaum that was not only willing to do the surgery but that he was getting great results. I immediately found out who he was and called the office. Thank God for the internet! His staff was very helpful and for the first time in over 4 years I had hope. They told me to mail my info to him and that he would get back with me. They also told me about the TC Foundation website and some TC Forums. When Dr. F called me, he asked questions that showed he totally understood what I was experiencing and he told me he thought he could help me. At this time, I think he had done only about 80 of these surgeries. I was scared to death, but as I continued to pray about it and talk it over with my family, we all felt I should do it. I had to do something! So, in August of 2009, I had the surgery. Dr. F was and is amazing. The entire staff was so helpful and were there to encourage me and answer any and all questions. Dr. F told me that since I had been dealing with these cysts, most likely born with them, for so long, I would probably have some permanent damage, but that he could stop the progression of the disease and that I would see improvement as time went on. That is exactly what happened. After the surgery, there was a significant improvement in all of my symptoms. the first 2 years were tough, I had good days and bad days, but still saw steady improvement. Fast forward to now, 5 1/2 years post op. I still have some bladder frequency, but my gynecologist believes this is also due to the 5 pregnancies I had, even so, it is nothing like it was prior to surgery. I do still deal with daily burning, but it is controlled with Ultram at half the dose it was prior to surgery. I weaned myself off of the Lyrica and Vicoden after about 1 year post op. I still have to do an occasional enema because of the colon not wanting to work, but they are becoming less and less. Again, I am not totally symptom free, but I am no longer living on the couch stoned out of my mind. I am working in my house and yard, enjoying my husband, children, grandchildren and life! I know that this is a long testimony, but I wanted to give hope to someone that is dealing with this. I have had this all my life and no one didn't get the proper diagnosis until I was in my 50's. Recently, I was describing what I had gone through to someone I knew. As I was talking, I started to cry, I can't believe how far I've come and how long I lived with the pain. I am so grateful to Dr. F and his team. They have devoted their lives to helping others live as pain free as they can. TC's are a tough diagnosis but there is hope for TC patients if they can get in touch with the right doctors. Thank you Dr. Feigenbaum for being willing to tackle something that no other doctors wanted to touch. Thank you to your team. I know that because of what you do you spend alot of time away from your family, please thank them for me also! I can't even imagine where I would be if I hadn't heard about Dr. F.
Submitted March 2015”