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Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery done 3 weeks ago

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I live in Mexico and after being diagnosed with DDD my neurosurgeon tried many different treatments for my lower back pain for over 6 months with no success. After reviewing my MRI with an orthopedic surgeon he said I would be a good candidate for artificial disc replacement surgery which would be alot less invasive and painful than a spinal fusion surgery. The surgery was done on April 18 and I am now a little over three weeks post op. I am taking Voltaren Plus and Neurontin for some inflammation and nerve pain in my hips but am doing really well. I would say I am 65% improved compared to before the surgery. I am doing physical therapy and being able to walk quite a bit during the day. I am feeling very optimistic that this surgery was exactly what I needed as I seem to be getting a little better every day. Has anyone else had this surgery and what was your experience. Would love to hear about other experiences with this type of surgery. Hope all is well with all of you.


  • I am waiting on surgery, so I can't help ya there. I just wanted to say welcome to the board. There are a lot of people that will give you a lot of insight! It sounds like you are doing pretty good so far!!! :)
  • I do feel I am doing pretty well and feeling much better after surgery than before. I wish you the best of luck on your surgery!
  • I am awaiting a 3 level ADR. Did your insurance cover your surgery, what company? I may go to France or Germany to have mine done and pay out of pocket. That is great that you feel like you made the right choice, I think I will feel the same. Good luck.
  • Thanks for your reply. I do have insurance coverage with a company in the US that is for ex pats that live out of the Country. It is supposed to cover me 100% after my $5,000 deductible is covered. All the bills from the surgery and MRI and xrays before the surgery came to a total of $22,000. We had to pay this out of our pocket but have turned in all receipts and hope to be reimbursed. I am really glad I had the disc replacement instead of the more invasive and pricey sinal fusion surgery. My insurance company is called Multi National Underwriters Insurance. I wish you luck and would like to hear what you decide and how it goes.
  • Sue,
    "buenos dias" :D
    Was your surgery done in Mexico?

    I miss Cabo alot. Used to have a timeshare at the Marina Fiesta hotel. Hope to go back someday.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Good luck on your recovery! What a wonderful place to recover (if near the ocean)!

  • Buenas Dias :D Cabo is gorgeous right now, May is my favoriate month, nice and sunny and warm during the day and the nights are clear and just a tinge cool. I love living in Cabo and yes, I had the surgery done here at AmeriMed Hospital. I have a great Neurosurgeon and the surgery went extremely well with no complications. I am back on my feet and hope to be able to get to the beach soon! Hope you get back to Cabo in the near future!
  • Thanx for the pm info Sue.
    So did you choose a specific version of the implants or did the surgeon pick?
    Was it the Maverick? ProDisc? Charite?
    Judging from your reply on another thread, it sounds like the surgeon has done a few of these operations.

    I had a cosmetic procedure done across the border in Tijuana. I have to say their attention to detail and service were quite refreshing. It was all-inclusive and a really nice experience. A very warm and friendly people.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • I had 3 level and it took 2.5 months to feel completely healed. Working full days with no pain, no need for meds anymore. I have a new back, or technically, neck. :)


  • Do you know if Dr Bertagnoli also performs Lumbar ADR?

  • Steve, I hope you come back on the forum soon! I'm a 33 year-old, otherwise healthy female in need of cervical ADR at C4-5, C5-6 and C6-7. My neurosurgeon suggests two artificial discs with a fusion in between, but I'd prefer to skip the fusion all together (Steve's story gives me hope!) I haven't had the surgery because my insurance co, Blue Shield, refused coverage, and I've been all the way through the arbitration process with them.

    I now have a brief window of opportunity to change insurance companies after my recent wedding- my husband is a US government employee with quite a number of insurance options. I'm checking the forums to see if any of those options appear here, but it still seems like everyone is going out of the country and paying out of pocket to get this done! Thanks for ANY suggestions anyone can provide!
  • Yes, of course he does. Google ADR support and you will find a ADR forum with 80 to 100 patient ADR stories/outcomes. The 2 most common places most Americans go to is a place called stenum hospital with dr Ritter Lang as the more well known surgeon or dr bertagnoli with prospine. Winning insurance appeals is a crap shoot. But bcbs , and cigna and aetna have been known to pay for multi level ADR . They are already paying for single level ADR , it's just that in Germany , it's a out of network claim. You just need to appeal the initial single level denials with these 3 insurers, and get proof of them approving other peoples surgeries to prove prescedence. I already have 3 multi level insurance approvals in hand and expect a few more. I'm appealing with aetna right now.

    1 level cervical may run you $24k, 1 level ADR maybe $32k, my 3 level cervical was $42k.
  • I've seen them cover single and multi level. Pm me with your fax or email and ill fax you more evidence of these insurers paying for these than you can shake a stick at. But, have no doubt, you will have to go to war with them to make them do the right thing and pay. Google laurie Todd , "the insurance warrior". She says they almost ALWAYS deny initial claims hoping you will just go away,... And most people do give up. The most powerful weapon in this war is proof that they have covered other people's surgeries such as yours. To do that you need to be active on the back boards, especially ADR support forum. I already have proof that aetna paid for a 3 level lumbar.
  • My claim is Workers Compensation and my Micro-D was covered, but I am still having problems. I suppose the same evidence of coverage by insurance carriers may persuade at least some sort of WC coverage. I would even meet them half way if they would approve the surgery at some point. Had my 3rd ESI today. First since the surgery, so we are back to conservative measures, but I am researching ADR a lot now.
  • I just got home from the hospital tonight after a 36 hour stay for an ADR at L4-L5. My insurance approved the ADR at one level with no problems at all. Physically, I don't feel too bad considering I am less than 48 hours out from surgery. My surgeon said that it will be 2 or 3 months before we know if this will be successful. I am so glad to hear positive stories like yours Cabosue, thanks for sharing it with us!
  • Just curious. Did you have any previous surgery at that level?

  • I had my surgery done in Arizona. No previous back surgery at all. I had tried all of the conservative treatments since last October to no avail. My spine Dr. referred me to my Orthopedic spine surgeron, my initial consultation with him was May 4th and surgery scheduled for May 14th. It all came together pretty quickly after I was referred to this surgeon. This morning I am 3 days post op and still feeling pretty good. The surgery was anterior so I have quite a bit of swelling in my abdominal area and lots of soreness in my back but I am staying on top of my meds so the pain doesn't get out of control. Feel free to PM me if you have any more questions.
  • Keep us posted on how you are coming along. I hope you have found the solution for the rest of your life! :)

    Did you have the "maverick" artificial disk installed?
  • I had the ProDisc. I too hope this is the cure for my back pain. I have been dealing with back pain flare ups for the last 12 years. Thanks for your well wishes! >:D< I hope you find relief soon.
  • Thanks Pammie for the kind words. I also had only 1 level disc replacement at L5 and I am now 4 weeks post op as of yesterday. I am doing my physical therapy and the best physical therpy I do is walking and exercising in the pool. If you have access to a pool, this is really good for strengthing your back again. I am feeling really good and only taking dolac and neurontin. I am walking every day, driving started at 3 weeks and I know you will have a great recovery. Artificial disc replacement is such an easier recovery than spinal fusion from everything I have read so far. You will feel a little bit better every day and be able to do a little bit more every day. Good luck!!!
  • Hi all, l'm new to the forum, but wanted to share my experience to try and reassure anyone contemplating disc replacement surgery. I am female aged 52 and live in the UK. I am in good health and always was, apart from a dodgy neck. However things worsened for me last year 2011. I had to have two artificial discs put in my neck at C5 & C6 in September 2011. I'd had a history of neck pain, not to bad really, l always managed to work, l was diagnosed with spondylosis at one stage 15-20 years ago. Had the odd flare up but nothing to major. In June 2011 a new serious problem began, my right arm was suddenly really painful, and l lost ability to use it without intensifying pain, couldn't sleep couldn't function. Lots of Doctor visits, x rays etc. However eventually an MRI revealed all, 2 seriously bulging discs, one of which had embedded itself into my spinal cord, hence my right arm problem. So with a risk of paralysis looming, l had no choice but to surrender to this op. I searched out a top surgeon specialising in disc anthroplasty. Still it sounded very scary stuff, and l am a coward! They put me to sleep at 4pm on a Wednesday, and l walked out of the hospital at 2.30pm the next day. I was on anti inflammatory meds for 6 weeks after, staples in my neck, and felt really sorry for myself, not a good patient for my family really, but l am glad l had it done. My right arm is great, normal again, and no more pain and crunching in my neck, and l can turn my head again, not quite like an owl yet but getting there. The scar on my neck has faded really well,and will eventually disappear altogether (a little make up hides it completely). I'm now 4 months post op. I was back at my office job after 2 weeks, driving my car again after 4 weeks. I'm on no pain relief or inflammatory meds, stopped those after 6 weeks (no need for them). Since the op, l've had follow up appointments, some physio ( 4 sessions), x-rays and an MRI to make sure the implants are where they should be, and l've full neck mobility. Before l had the op l could barely turn my head. Because pre op l couldn't find any positive threads about this operation only information about poor outcomes, and l was frightened.I promised myself that if all went well for me, l would share this. I know wer are all different, and some go well, some not so well, but its the same with everything in life. You have to do whats right for you. I hope this helps anyone on the threshold of making this decision, my best wishes to you all.
  • wow! This is all wonderful to hear. I am thrilled for you that you had a good out come :)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • Thank you so much for sharing! I am having artificial disc surgery (although lumbar...L5/S1) in two weeks, so it is encouraging to hear how well you have done.

    Wishing you continued success with your ADR's.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • milly25mmilly25 Posts: 4
    edited 10/14/2012 - 6:13 AM
    Hi l had a cervical disc anthroplasty 2 discs in my neck were replaced in Sep 2011. All was great for around five months post op, huge improvement, l was delighted . Until a niggling burning pain developed in my right shoulder (never had shoulder pain pre-op) ,it came and went, maybe there five days out of seven? often accompanied by nocturnal parasthesia in my hands. MRI's, Xrays etc followed, my fear was the impants had failed. Apparently not though, l have developed Peripheral Neuropathy, so l am now on neuro supresssants and my op no longer feels so successful anymore. If l am honest l feel l've swoppped one set of problems for another. Has this happend to anyone else? and what was the outcome, did it all go away eventually?
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,368
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  • yellowdogyyellowdog Posts: 2
    edited 06/03/2013 - 3:59 PM
    I'm really happy that I happened across this post.

    I'm considering ADR for herniated L4/L5... of course; in the way I do things, one is posterior and the other anterior! As you can imagine it's just making life miserable upon occasion!! Don't bend too far forward... WAIT! Don't bend too far backwards... Wut?

    I was reviewing coverage with Cigna and my initial review led me to believe they didn't cover multi-level ADR, but thankfully the info from Steve55 and Paul have given me great hope! And I wasn't really even considering any type of procedure since I was absolutely against fusion but for some reason it occurred to me that I should look into ADR. I haven't actually had a consult yet, but I'm a perfect candidate all things considered.

    I live in the Bay Area and hope to find some details on surgeons around here so if anyone has any details they would like to share in that regard, that would be swell! I'll also attempt to PM some of the folks herein to see how they're doing a few years down the road since it's been... a few years since they posted. ;-)
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