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L5 S1 ADR - I am from UK

sgm6670ssgm6670 Posts: 21
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Just over 3 weeks ago I had surgery here in the UK. I was involved in a car accident just over 2 years ago which caused problems with three discs. However, the pain being caused by the L5 S1 became unbearable and after lots of tests and research, it was agreed that I would go ahead with a complete disc replacement.

The surgery went fine and the following days I had post op pain in my right leg (nerve pain, which medication controlled). I had none of the terrible back pain I suffered before! It was amazing.

Now, 3 weeks on, I feel like I could conquer the world! I walk 3-4 miles a day (then sleep for a while) and then I potter around the house doing little jobs (bit of dusting, cooking etc), but my back will ache a little if I over do it. I have had 2 sessions with my physio and do the exercises that she gives me daily.....mainly little stretching exercises...nothing to strenuous!

I am so glad I went ahead with the ADR and I know people are worried about this type of surgery, but my surgeon specialises in this type of surgery and is absolutely amazing. He was positive from the start which obviously makes me feel more positive and has a fantastic track record. There aren't many doctors in the UK that perform this surgery, so I am glad I found one that did.....it has turned my life around!


  • That's wonderful news. I'm so happy you were able to find someone to help you and that the artificial disc is helping your pain.

    Please be careful about doing too much too soon. It is human nature to want to do everything all at once that we have been restricted from due to pain!

    Thanks for posting with some good news.

  • I am being very careful and I know when I have done too much....pain tells me!!

    I feel very positive though and after nearly 3 years of hell and pain, I am glad that I am on the road to recovery....even though I know it takes time.

    Thank you for responding Gweenie!
  • Welcome to Spine Health. That is tremendous that you feel so fantastic so soon after surgery. I have known others who have had ADR and felt like a million bucks just days after surgery. I hope you have many many more pain free days!

  • Hi there!

    Many congratulations on your lack of pain. It must feel fantastic, but I must agree with Gwennie about taking it easy in these early days.

    I'd be fascinated to know which Trust carries out ADR, having just discovered that Rhizotomy (SDR) is not available in the UK yet. Please could you PM me with details of the name of the doctor who did your surgery and which Trust you're in? Do you happen to know your current waiting list time? Ours has just changed from 8 to 26 weeks!

    Thank you and congratulations again!

    Val (also UK)
  • Yes, I would also be interested to hear which surgeon and Trust you were in. I asked for a referral to have acupuncture to try to control my pain/sciatica after 18 months since my first physiotherapist assessment for back pain. I have been told that I have to wait 20 weeks to be seen by triage to assess me again. I feel like I am starting the process all over again!

    I'm so glad to hear how well you are doing.
  • To Jellyhall,

    I've just found out that every Trust can change their waiting lists according to Govt regs/Trust issues etc., at the drop of a hat.

    Ours has recently changed it's time-frame from 8 to 18 weeks (NHS) and 8 to 28 weeks (private referral to NHS). I now have to wait 28 weeks to have a radiofrequency neurotomy carried out, but if I'd been seen in October it would have been an 8 week wait.

    The cost to have it done privately is prohibitive (for me), so it's mind-blowing to realise they can change their rules without telling patients, although I suppose that's the whole point!


  • I'm sorry, I'm so new to all this that I'm not sure what you mean! Private referral to NHS?
    Surely the time-frame must be due to a long list of patients. How can they suddenly change it?
    I wonder if my Trust has also changed the waiting time recently. 18 months ago, I only had to wait about 6 weeks. Makes me wonder what I'd do if I decided I couldn't cope with all this and wanted to see a surgeon. I was told about 5 months ago, that as I'd already waited to see the physio,and been through back school etc., that if I wanted to see a surgeon, I could have an appointment straight away. Now, I seem to have to begin the process all over again.
    Could this be because I went and talked to a private surgeon to find out my options?
  • You can see the same surgeon that you would see on the NHS privately (that's if they operate privately - which most do!). Which means you can either wait for the NHS waiting list or speak to his/her secretary and ask he he/she operates privately and pay to see him/her within a week or two. I paid £140 for the initial consultation (I didn't want to wait 24 weeks that the NHS were telling me I had to wait to see this particular guy). You can then get an idea of what needs to happen etc and private costs, or transfer back to the NHS waiting list for the treatment. At least you get an idea on treatment etc now rather than waiting months just for that.

    It's disgraceful really that it operates this way, but I needed a diagnosis etc. I had been pushed from pillar to post on the NHS over my back pain and had months of physio, followed by various injections and never got to see the expert himself (always someone in his team). So once I paid to see him direct, that was in Sept, I had a discogram done the following week (privately - I paid) and then the main op in October (again privately) and I am now fixed (fingers crossed), I should say, I am pain free! Which was the ultimate goal.

    If you do stay with the NHS, insist on seeing the boss, not his team!
  • Just wanted to say hello and thanks for sharing your story. It would be wonderful if all these surgeries turned out as well as yours. Keep us posted and God Bless!
  • To be perfectly honest, after reading the stories on here I realise how lucky I have been. I am glad, in a way, that I hadn't seen this website before surgery as I may have been worried about going ahead!! I have always been positive and only being 39 yrs old with a 9 yrs old daughter, I wanted and needed this operation to work....for all our quality of life!!

    I ensured that I got the best surgeon first though, and again, he remained positive with me throughout, so I cannot thank him enough for all he has done.

    I truely hope that everyone who is having a rough time at the moment start to see improvements soon.

    Good luck everyone......I am off for my 5 mile walk now to pick up my daughter from school (something I couldn't do before surgery and I am loving the walking!!).
  • To Jellyhall,

    What it means is that you can see a consultant on the NHS or privately (same consultant, as SGM said). After that, you can continue privately and pay, or be transferred to the NHS and join the end of the waiting list.

    In my Trust, they've recently decided our new NHS waiting list should be 18 weeks long. In the past (here), you could see someone privately then go in at the same place as anyone else. So I could have seen my guy privately and joined the list at 18 weeks.

    However they've now decided that if you see someone privately, they're going to add 10 weeks to you, so my waiting time isn't 18 weeks, but 28 weeks! What a joke and all it does it deter you from seeing someone privately in the first place (which was its intention), so it's a Catch 22 situation. Wait 10 weeks to see a consultant in the NHS and join the 18 week list or see him privately and have 10 weeks added on ie the NHS waiting list is really 28 weeks.


  • Having been assessed by physiotherapy department, then had several weeks physio, followed by several weeks back school. Then referred to a specialist physio who x-rayed and found a spondylolisthesis. Then tried several months intensive chiropractic sessions (over 50). Eventually an MRI showed 6 bulging/protruding discs,1 disc nearly completely gone, stenosis, facet joint hypertrophy, endplate changes, I was told I could see the surgeon. I was very scared!!
    Then after a couple of months, I heard about a spinal surgeon who only does private work, but offers various other treatments, I thought I'd go and talk to him to see if I had other options than a decompression with fusion surgery.
    Now, if I try to have acupuncture on the NHS, I have to wait 20 weeks and be reassessed by a physiotherapist. Sounds like I have to start all over again! I wasn't trying to jump the queue, just to find a way to avoid surgery.
    I had even asked my GP who referred me to the surgeon if it would cause problems seeing a private surgeon. She told me that no-one would know. But the surgeon asked the hospital for a copy of my MRI scan, so they found out!
  • To Jellyhall, please see PM (don't want to hijack thread!) Val

  • As you get stronger, you will be able to get back to your life and enjoy your 9 year old daughter.

    Your surgeon sounds very good. Shame he isn't a bit closer to me.

    Take care
  • I am returning to work on Wednesday and I can't wait. I can't believe how well I am feeling and it is 6 weeks ago since I had my surgery, time has flown. I am walking 5-6 miles a day (subject to the horrible rainy British weather at the moment) and am only taking maybe one or two painkillers a day (mainly at night).

    I went swimming last week which felt good and hopefully will return to the gym at work next week.....only on the treadmill or bike though as I will find it hard walking like I have been since being at home.

    I am truely lucky to have had such success with my surgery and wish everyone else lots of luck and good health.

    I will let you know how the return to work goes!

  • It is wonderful to hear of such a successful story. It must feel great to get back to your normal life again.
  • I had a back op L5-S1 hern, about 6 months ago thing got better but now its back the the way it was i cant go to work play sports some times cant even dress my self had enough. consultant say they will not give me a disk re-placement dont know why im a good candidate for it so my doctor GP has told me.. it will cost the DWP more money as im claming money first time in 32years and it sucks CAN any one HELP me to find a way they will do the op.. they say they will fuse me back but no disk re-placement i live in DEVON UK so plymouth is the nearest hospital thanks
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