Surgeon: Cagle surgery a success

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is recovering from spinal surgery this afternoon, an operation that went without complication, Emory University Dr. John Heller said.

Heller performed the nearly two-hour procedure at Emory’s Orthopaedics and Spine Hospital in Tucker.

“The surgery was rather of matter of fact, went according to plan,” Heller said. “There were no complications noted to date. The lieutenant governor is recovering rather well and is in perfectly good spirits.”

If Cagle continues to progress as planned, Heller said, he could be released Tuesday morning.

Cagle, 43, had surgery to repair a degenerative condition in his cervical spine – in his neck. The procedure involved bone grafts, Heller said.

“The nature of his problem involved two different levels in his neck,” Heller said. “It generally was a wear and tear process involving a disc that joins two veterbrae in at one level and a joint at his neck in another.”

Cagle should know in “days or weeks” if the surgery solved the problem, Heller said. In an earlier interview with the AJC, Cagle said the situation caused growing numbness down his left arm, the possibility that paralysis could extend to his left leg, and “unbelievable” pain.

But, Heller said Monday, it could be “months before he knows if his bone grafts have healed properly.”

To allow that healing to occur, Heller said, Cagle must submit to some “behavioral modifications.”

Those modifications involve avoiding excessive loads, avoiding certain sports or hauling heavy briefcases, Heller said. Cagle needs, the doctor said, to experience a “normal, sedentary life” for a while.

But, Heller added, once fully healed, Cagle should be “good to go,” and will be fine to continue his job and his bid for re-election in 2010.

10 comments Add your comment


April 27th, 2009
2:08 pm

Best wishes to the Lt. Governor for a speedy recovery. We look forward to seeing him back out there at his best!

Cagle — Peach Pundit

April 27th, 2009
2:46 pm

[...] to the AJC, Cagle is out of surgery and recovering. The surgery went according to plan and there were no [...]


April 27th, 2009
3:08 pm

Sounds like an ACDF to me.

Name (required)

April 27th, 2009
3:39 pm

Wow….so he actually DOES have a spine.

Speedy recovery CC!

Fulton Resident

April 27th, 2009
4:00 pm

That sounds disgustingly painful – months to heal – I hope to pass on that procedure. Best of luck to Cagle and his family.


April 27th, 2009
5:09 pm

I had this done on two cervical vertabrae. I went home the next day (100miles) and went out to eat on the way. Two days later I was at a Christmas tree farm, walking on uneven ground, etc. I did not have to wear a neck brace (but I did in the car for a couple of weeks anyway) and when I went for rehab after 2 visits they told me they couldn’t help me; the repair was so good. It literally helped from the minute I woke up, with virtually no surgical pain.

Kudos to Peachtree Neurosurgeons for a job well done.

I am sure Mr. Cagle will heal well. Of the dozen people I know who had this done, all who had cadaver bone used healed very quickly. Those whose doctors used bone from the hip had much more pain for much longer. I am sure the Emory Clinic is state of the art.

GOP Grass Roots Guy

April 27th, 2009
7:44 pm

Sounds like he should use a motel room rather than his office for some of his extra-curricular activities. That desk must be very hard indeed.


April 27th, 2009
8:16 pm

I am so glad to hear that Mr. Cagle came thru surgery ok. I sure hate that he waited so long to have it done. I sure hope he is up and around soon and will not have to wear neck brace for a long period of time. He needs to do what the doctors tell him and he will make a
great recovery.

Best to him and his family.


April 29th, 2009
12:30 pm

Casey, you are in our prayers and well wishes for a speedy recovery. You are a good leader and an asset to Georgia. (To those who made the sarcastic and tasteless comments – slither back under the rock you came from – no one wants to hear you vomit your ignorance!)


April 30th, 2009
9:26 pm

He picked a great surgeon. Hope all will be ok.