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January 18, 2019

Hazlet man chooses to stay local for spine surgery.

By Brittany Maynard

Robert Raneri, 59, has never shied away from heavy lifting at the liquor store he co-owns. Knowing the importance of proper lifting, Robert has always been careful, but two weeks before Memorial Day, he learned that his efforts hadn’t been enough to keep him safe from injury. “While I was shopping with my wife, Micki, I bent to pick up a pair of shoes and felt a pain in my back,” explains Robert. “It wasn’t until Memorial Day weekend, though, that the pain became a problem.”


Micki, who works for Hackensack Meridian Health, took Robert to the Emergency Department at Bayshore Medical Center, near their home. After a CT scan and evaluation, he was released with medication for his pain.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Less than 24 hours later, while at work, Robert lost the use of his legs. “It was scary. My partner had to drive me home, and Micki took me back to the hospital,” he recalls.

This time, Robert was admitted and Howard Eisenbrock, D.O., a neurosurgeon at Bayshore, was called. After an MRI, Dr. Eisenbrock determined that Robert’s lumbar spine had a very large herniated disc, which occurs when spinal discs push outward, compressing the spinal nerve roots as they exit from the spinal cord.

“Robert had a few treatment options to choose from,” says Dr. Eisenbrock. “He could try conservative treatments, such as physical therapy and injections, but I advised him that his case would eventually require surgery.”


Robert decided to have the surgery, but Micki wanted to be sure her husband received the best care.

“After deciding to have the surgery, I called around for a second opinion. In the end, we chose to stay with Dr. Eisenbrock in lieu of going to New York City,” Micki explains.

“Everyone I’d spoken with had said great things about him.”

Robert’s microdiscectomy, minimally invasive surgery removing small pieces of the spine and relieving spinal nerve column pressure, was booked for May 31, and it went perfectly. The pain that Robert came into Bayshore with was gone by that evening. He returned to work one week later and stood grilling for hours on Father’s Day.


“Dr. Eisenbrock’s bedside manner was so reassuring; he even called my cellphone to go over surgery details. I’ve already recommended him to family and friends,” Micki says. “Some people think they need to go to New York City for their care, but they need to know there is great care right in their backyard.”

Dr. Eisenbrock’s answers to common questions about neurosurgery.