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Disc Replacement? Any advice would be appreciated!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
I'm new to this forum, and I'm really just looking to get some advice from others that may be going through what I'm going through.

A little background:
In 2004 I was diagnosed as having sciatica after a never-ending cramping pain eventually ended me up in the ER due to the extremity of the pain. I did not have health insurance at the time and I was forced to try home-remedies and accupuncture. They were not helpful, but I learned to just live with the pain.

Then, in May 2005 I fell down at work (I waited tables) and although I sprained my wrist, once I recovered from that, my pain was gone. I went a little over 2 years completely pain free.

In 2007 I became pregnant with my second child and starting having back pain towards the end of my pregnancy. About six months after my son was born, it started getting pretty bad again. I went through physical therapy, got the cortisone shots, but nothing was working.

A year after this current episode of chronic pain, I went in for a microdiscectomy. This was in April of this year. I seemed to be doing pretty well until the beginning of Sept, and now it's back to where it was before. I had my MRI done a week ago, and the results are that the disc is worse off than before the surgery.

I go back to my surgeon on 11/3 and I'm wondering if I should push to have a disc replacement or fusion this time?? I don't want to be in this position again in 6 months. I have two small children (ages 2 and 6) that need their Mommy to be able to help with little things like tying shoes and helping them get dressed without wincing in pain everytime I move. I can't handle this anymore :(

Any advice from anyone who has had a disc replaced or had fusion of their lumbar spine? It would be greatly appreciated!!


  • Unfortunately surgery will not guarantee that you will not be back to the same or worse in 6 months. I totally understand your dilemma because I am alos in a situation where the only alternatives are disc replacement or fusion. I chose to hold out as long as possible in hopes that a better alternative with a higher success rate will come along. You are the only one that can really decide if you are at the point that you are willing to try either surgery. I talked to my doc about the ADR the beginning of this year and he said that the ADR is too new and that there is a long way to go before it would be perfected. He would not advise it at this time. But, talk to your surgeon about your options and research as much as you can about both surgeries. I always try and gather as much info as possible before making a major decisions like that. It is so much easier to do when you know all of the pros and the cons. Good luck and keep us posted.
  • Less the fall and the pregnancy, I had the first procedure done and 6 months later went back with horrible pain, was advised to have the fusion which I did as I did not know any better and did not even know this site exsisted, I was out of work 6 months went back to work and in 3 months had to have another fusion which I had in July of this year, I wished I had done as J.J said and held out, my back is in worse shape now as far as the pain, I cant lie down in the bed, It hurts to walk or even lift my leg to get in the suv and drive, I am so mad at myself. I can no longer work at a job I adored and now the dr. has refused to sign my papers to ever return to any job. I was forced to file for disability and I hated doing it. I am not the sit at home type. Please be sure you think this one over, I am certianly not a Dr. and in no way am telling you what to do I simply want you to know that surgery will not be a gaurentee that all will be well again. PLEASE PLEASE think this one over and even try to get a second opinion. Good luck with whatever you do we will be here if you want to talk to us. Take care.
  • I am 38 years old and was hurt at work two years ago. I suffered with lower back pain. I couldn't sit long, stand, or even lay down. I finally was sent to a doctor that gave me the opinion of either disk replacement or fusion. After a lot of research I choice the replacement. I had the operation the first of April of this years. When I woke up after the operation I had no back pain or leg pain. I was up and walking that same day and only stayed in the hospital for two days. I had some problems with my nerve and went through PT. I am not a 100% and never will be again but before the operation my pain level was between a 9 and 10 and now I would say that most days it might be a 3. I am not in a brace at all and I have been release to go back to work moderly. I can not lift over 20 pounds and have to becare about twisting and bending wrong but I would recommand disk replacement over fusion any day. I watched my mom after fusion and I couldn't believe the difference between the two. With any operation everyone's results are different but based on my experience I would say go with the disk replacement.
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