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Hit by Drunk Driver/ Dynesys Stabilization Surgery Opinions

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,622
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:33 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Good afternoon everyone,

I found this forum by accident, and I'm glad I did. Maybe a few people who have either gone through what I am currently going through or have experience in the field can further aid me on my road to recovery...

While conducting traffic control in my patrol car (in a construction zone), I was struck by a drunk driver at approximately 45 mph. This was back in November of 2008. I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance and they concluded that I had no broken bones. I resumed work in about 2 or 3 days.

I continued to work, but the pain in my lower back grew progressively worse. Finally, I had to stay home in February and have not gone to work since.

After an MRI, it was concluded that I suffered a herniation in my L1/L2, herniation in my L5/S1 and disc bulging in my L5/S1 and L4/L5. Every time I sit down for more than a few moments, I feel as if I'm sitting on a very hot plate. There are times when this shooting pain goes down my buttock and left leg and sometimes my foot will fall asleep. It's quite annoying and often times excruciatingly painful. Sitting makes everything worse.

Under the care of a pain management specialist, I've received 2 epidural injections to my L1/L2 with little effect. I also received an epidural injection to my L5/S1 with very little relief. Before this, I received a cortisone injection to my SI joint (which they thought was the problem)....and of course it did nothing.

I've tried physical therapy for 3 months, a chiropractor for 3 months, and my pain has not subsided.

Last week I consulted with a neurosurgeon and as soon as he saw my MRI, he knew what needed to be done. He recommended I undergo a newer procedure called Dynesys : Dynamic Stabilization. He stated to me that he would place a Dynesys device comprised of titanium alloy screws and external spacers to stabilize my joints allowing the herniated discs to heal themselves and avoiding any type of unnecessary fusion/s at my age (23).

Has anyone heard of this procedure? Has anyone *had* this procedure done? I've never had a back surgery, and the prospect of going through this is frightening....

The surgery is 2 hours long and requires 3 days in the hospital. The recovery period is 4-8 weeks depending on how I do in physical therapy. The neurosurgeon stated that most athletes who come to him and have this procedure done are back on the field in no time feeling better than before with a new back.

Any suggestions to help quell my fear of the unknown?
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Comments

  • I like the part where the surgeon stated that most athletes can get back on the field. I had a big
    fusion and I think it was just trust in my surgeon
    who has an excellent reputation and also the knowledge that I had no choice but to have surgery.

    I'm sure you'd want to check it out more but if he has a good reputation and also if you like the research you come up with I think that would go a long way toward fear of the unknown. Your insurance company may have information on that surgery.

    good luck, I'm sorry about your accident and when you're in that much pain everything is scary and confusing. I hope you can get the information you need to make a decision. Good luck, susie
  • While I don't have any comments on your surgery options I wanted to give you my condolences on your accident. I know the pain of being hurt by another and what it can do to our lives.

    The advice I CAN give you is to research any procedure or surgery you are presented with as much as possible. It is important for you to have knowledge about your care and the impact it will have for the rest of your life. Starting out here is one of the best things you could have done- there are some smart folks here who will no doubt be able to answer your question soon.

    I wish you all the best,
    Griff
  • I had ACDF almost two weeks ago. I should have had it three years ago. I just was to scared and tried everything before the inevitable. I would get another opinion, but if it's best and nothing else is working, isn't worth a shot. That is basically how I feel.

    Good Luck and I too was struck by a drunk driver, it is upsetting that one persons poor judgment can have such a sad effect on another.

    I am still annoyed the woman who hit me injured m daughter. She now has tendonitis in her arm from the accident. She scared my baby and that hurts more then any pain I've endured so for and I do hope you get the relief you need.

    Cindy
    Cindy
  • Biohazard,

    I had the surgery that you are talking about back on June 13th of 2008. I opted for that one over a fusion because my surgeon told me that it would leave me with more mobility and that it would give me higher chances of staying in the military. After about 6 months post-op all of my numbess returned to my entire left leg and foot as wwell as my tailbone. I went through the whole PT deal and all of the stuff as well and ended up have another MRI and the Doc told me well thisw didnt work out as well as i had hoped and that i had pinched nerves in my L5/S1 again and thats what wwas causing my pain. He told me that I could have one of three things done 1)permanent morphine pump 2)Leave it alone and deal with it 3)have complete fusion. I took option #3 and wish i would've done it the first time. I feel so much better after the fusion that it's not even funny. So basicially the Dysnes system did not work for me, but then that's just me. What ever you choose I hope that it works out for you. If you have any other questions about my experience just let me know
    Hank
  • Thanks to all who have responded. I'm still going through with the surgery.

    I remain positive and hope that I can make a speedy recovery. I'm only 23 and consider myself to be athletic. I'll do whatever it takes to recover quickly and without incident.

    Does anyone have any idea of what this would cost? I'm only having the L5/S1 Vertebrae done.

    Thanks
  • Bio,

    When I saw the bill for my Dysnes I about pooped myself. It was close to 70K! All I can say is thank goodness for military insurance. Hope that everything goes good for you and please keep us posted.

    Hank
  • Geez...70K?

    I have insurance and the drunk driver's insurance is eventually going to have to fit the bill for this. I'm just a little scared of going through something like this....

    I've done the conservative treatment (i.e., chiropractor for 3 months, PT for 3 months, Massage Therapy, Core Strengthening)....

    And nothing has worked. I'm just terrified of surgery. I'm only 23, and I plan on getting back to the gym after surgery to strengthen....but I still have my reservations. I don't want to be in pain for the rest of my life. But if I don't do anything, I'll have to live with this severe sciatic pain as well as lower back pain.

    Decisions Decisions....
  • I hear on the the tough decision. I did all the PT, massage and epidurals and all the other conservative stuff as well. Just a heads up I wouldnt expect to be able to get back into the gym and be lifting weights for at least 12 weeks. I am 3 month post op and doc told me still nothing over about 15 pounds still no running and to be extremely careful with the whole BLT thing. I'm not trying to scare you here just want to give you a heads up. If you have any other questions let me know.

    Hank
  • Hi Biohazard, firstly I would like to say how sorry I am to hear about your accident, subsequent problems and on-going pain.

    In October 2008, I finally underwent Dynesys surgery (in the UK) at L4,L5,S1 after 5 years of chronic back pain. I now have a meccano set in my back ;-) hardware comprises 6 screws, 4 spacers and a plethora of wiring! Today, I am 9 months post-op and 22 days drug-free!! After taking a cocktail of drugs including Oramorph, Tramadol, Co-codamol, Naproxen, Diclofenic, Amytriptyline, you name it - it's quite something to be drug free! I'm not pain-free but what I have got I can deal with without drugs. I physio/exercise every day and this is key. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm doing OK. And... I have no regrets.

    There is a Dynesys Support Group on Facebook (which is free to join) - we now have over 50 members at various stages of pre/post Dynesys or revision surgery. We also have Zimmer reps and surgeons numbering our members. We are the busiest spine group on Facebook (in terms of comments/posts over 500). We're a friendly bunch, providing opportunity to chat about the surgery with spineys who've been there, seen it, done it!! Lots of info on there too. From the Group you will also be able to hook into my Dynesys blog, in which I have detailed my surgery and recovery experience. I do hope you find us, if not, I wish you all the best with your surgery and recovery.
  • Biohazard said:
    Good afternoon everyone,

    I found this forum by accident, and I'm glad I did. Maybe a few people who have either gone through what I am currently going through or have experience in the field can further aid me on my road to recovery...

    While conducting traffic control in my patrol car (in a construction zone), I was struck by a drunk driver at approximately 45 mph. This was back in November of 2008. I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance and they concluded that I had no broken bones. I resumed work in about 2 or 3 days.

    I continued to work, but the pain in my lower back grew progressively worse. Finally, I had to stay home in February and have not gone to work since.

    After an MRI, it was concluded that I suffered a herniation in my L1/L2, herniation in my L5/S1 and disc bulging in my L5/S1 and L4/L5. Every time I sit down for more than a few moments, I feel as if I'm sitting on a very hot plate. There are times when this shooting pain goes down my buttock and left leg and sometimes my foot will fall asleep. It's quite annoying and often times excruciatingly painful. Sitting makes everything worse.

    Under the care of a pain management specialist, I've received 2 epidural injections to my L1/L2 with little effect. I also received an epidural injection to my L5/S1 with very little relief. Before this, I received a cortisone injection to my SI joint (which they thought was the problem)....and of course it did nothing.

    I've tried physical therapy for 3 months, a chiropractor for 3 months, and my pain has not subsided.

    Last week I consulted with a neurosurgeon and as soon as he saw my MRI, he knew what needed to be done. He recommended I undergo a newer procedure called Dynesys : Dynamic Stabilization. He stated to me that he would place a Dynesys device comprised of titanium alloy screws and external spacers to stabilize my joints allowing the herniated discs to heal themselves and avoiding any type of unnecessary fusion/s at my age (23).

    Has anyone heard of this procedure? Has anyone *had* this procedure done? I've never had a back surgery, and the prospect of going through this is frightening....

    The surgery is 2 hours long and requires 3 days in the hospital. The recovery period is 4-8 weeks depending on how I do in physical therapy. The neurosurgeon stated that most athletes who come to him and have this procedure done are back on the field in no time feeling better than before with a new back.

    Any suggestions to help quell my fear of the unknown?
  • hI SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR PROBLEM,I HAD L5/SI DISECTOMY IN MARCH O8 AND TILL THIS DAY AM STILL IN THE SAME SET UP AS U TRIED PHYSIO,ACCUPUNCTURE,STERIOD INJECTIONS AND NOT GETTING ANY WHERE HAD MRI SCAN AGAIN SURGEON SAID BULGING L4 AND MASSIVE SCAR TISSUE WHICH CAN CAUSE LOTS OF PAIN IT TOUCHING THE NERVES SO I AM WAITING FOR MORE SURGERY DONT KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. THE FIRST SURGERY WAS GREAT FOR 13 DAYS BUT JUST WENT ONE DAY BACK TO SQUARE ONE,IT A NIGHTMARE I DONT SLEEP CANT WALK FAR AM BENT OVER CANT LIE DOWN AND CANNOT STAND IN THE ONE PLACE TO LONG SO AM AT MY WITS END DONT KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT TIME ROUND.IF I WERE YOU I WOULD JUST STAY RELAXED AND CALM DONT LISTEN TO ANYONE AS YOU WILL HEAR STORIES THAT WOULD PUT YOU CRAZY,EVERY ONE IS DIFFERENT AND YOU COULD BE FINE SO I HOPE YOU GET SORTED SOON LET ME KNOW I AM 34 AND HAVE 4 KIDS SO YOU CAN IMAGINE WHAT WAY THIS HOME IS BUT NO REST FOR THE WICKED SO THEY SAY PLEASE DONT FEAR THESE PEOPLE KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING X
  • Thanks so much for the replies. I guess we have our share of success stories too. I can see the cost is ridiculous, but now a days you get what you pay for.

    I went for a 2nd opinion and all of a sudden the neurosurgeon I see says I don't need the surgery, that I'm too young. I ask him what to do for the pain and he says, "well, sometimes you have to just live with it."

    That's NOT acceptable for me. I don't want to be on meds all my life, but I don't want to have a surgery that could potentially leave me in the same spot or worse.

    I'm going for a third opinion in the next two weeks. He/she has to agree with one of the first two guys. I hope I'm doing the right thing. I was thinking of going to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York for a 3rd or possibly 4th opinion. We'll see...

    Thanks to all or the replies!
  • How did the third opinion go? I know it's not very nice, but if I had a surgeon tell me I'd just have to live with it, I'd grab him where it really hurts and ask if he'd like to live with THAT for forever. What a bozo. You are very young for this type of surgery, but the fact is that we get injured and we need to have the pain fixed as best we can. You're too young to live your next 70 years in agony. Let us know how it went.

    Linda


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I was expected to get a dynesys on my T7-8 surgery, but they changed it to another system. It worked the same, it may have also been an issurance issue. It looked like dynesys to me when they showed me the parts. A friend of mine had the dynesys also in the l4-5 and it works well for her. I visited the Cleveland Clinic spine center and asked them the question about using dynesys and they said there are several on the market and they really have no preference. I am 9 weeks post op and it does seem to work well. My surgery was different because they first did microsurgery to remove a small portion of the disc, and then installed the stabilizer. It makes recovery a lot easier. If it does get worse again, you may need the fusion.
  • my surgery acdf two levels...get this two neurosurgeons I'm told they are top docs in NY....
    $198,000

    I almost fainted! Thank God for major medical!
    Cindy
  • 198,000?????

    My Gosh....that's serious money. I hope you have hired attorneys to at least seek some type of compensatory and/or punitive damages from that ingrate.

    We deserve better.....to have our lives shaken by irresponsible people with flagrant disregard for the safety of others is sad...and unfair.

    If you need to talk (because I know I do most of the time), my email is phenom212@gmail.com

    Stay safe and I hope you find comfort.

    -Mike
  • Regarding the expense...

    I asked this question a while ago - here is the thread of replies I got http://www.spine-health.com/forum/back-surgery-and-neck-surgery/how-expensive-does-it-get

    All told, my 2-level fusion cost almost 164,000.00

    Best of luck on your next opinion - as scary as surgery is, I'm glad I went through with it - it did take a Discogram to prove to me that I needed it done though.

    I for sure recommend asking for a Discogram to locate the exact problem areas before you make your final decision.
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