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Artificial disc replacement - cervical

AkSAAkS Posts: 13
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I talked with my neurosurgeon this morning and instead of a fusion, I'm going to be going with an artificial disc replacement. It was more of an 'in shock' appointment, so I didn't get to ask all the questions I wanted. I have a 'personal surgery question answerer', but only available to me a week prior to the surgery.. I've tried to look up stuff on this, but it seems so much is dedicated to ACDF and not much to the artificial disc, which I get since it's 'newer'.. I'm assuming it's basically the ACDF minus the fusion?? Can anyone give me some insight on the recovery? Should I focus much/at all on the surgery list offered here?


  • There are some articles written by spinal specialists that will give you some basic information on the artificial discs. You can see it here:



    The artificial disc is a relatively new procedure here in the US. It has been done longer in Europe. You will want to do your research on this as there is no long-term data on the outcomes.

    I think most members on this board would suggest you get more than one opinion before going ahead with this procedure. You really want to know all the pros and cons before proceeding.

    You can also run a search on the forum and see past threads pertaining to ADR. As with anything, some people are pleased with the results; others are not. I encourage you to do your homework before moving ahead with this. You don't want any surprises if you can help it!!
  • Thank you Gwennie! Yes, I have actually gotten 3 opinions, 2 for an artificial disc and one pushing a fusion.

    I must not have used the search function right, I didn't get what I was looking for.. I think I'll try again and maybe go back farther in the search results :)
  • Hi AKS' I am probably not the best person to talk to about ADR reason being i had a very bad outcome after ADR surgery in 2004 before the fda aproval on my lumbar L4L5. My dr i was told was already doing triple ADR surgeries on lumbar as a trial basis in the Chicago land area here, but i sustained nerve damage having a single level and sense been fused with ADR left in. The good news is from my many years of talking to other dr's about ADR, there is a beter chance and beter outcomes for cervical surgeries with the artificial disc. There are not many people here that come to mind that have cervical ADR, which might be a good thing posibly.For i would think if they had good outcomes they might never need to search for answers here. On the other hand 1 person that comes to mind who had ADR cervical, he had bone overgrowth i believe over the adr so neck became fused more or less anyway, even with having the adr surgery done. Trust me none of these surgeries are to be taken lightly for they all have there complications and can have life changing results, sometimes good, in some cases bad, as it was with me. I know nobody will remove the ADR out of my back which i never knew about when i had surgery, because they went in from the front, and they say to go back in, with all the scar tissue now around the surgery site its life threatning to go back in. Now i dont know if its the same case with cervical or not. Thats a question you might have for your dr. I suffer with nerve pain sense my 1st surgery so i regret doing it, but i thought i had 1 of the best dr's at the time. Hope anything i have said to ya dont scare you off from having the ADR for its posible you could be 1 of the lucky ones and have a good outcome. Just find the best dr to do it if posible. I wish you the best of luck. If you like more information from that person that had cervical adr he should be back in a few days, and he usualy visits the spine health chat room. You are welcome to join us there. Sincerely Yours; Alexhurting
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Thanks for your reply :) I think I may have read a post that was from the person you mentioned, with the bone overgrowth. Either that, or it was something similar. I've been researching out the wazoo and think that this is the way to go for me.. I'm still interested in recovery stories though, I'm reading different info from different people.
  • I had a 3 level cervical ADR in Germany. But I had all 3 ADR's removed due to Staph infection. Once any hardware is exposed to infection, it has to come out because the bugs cannot be gotten rid of even with antibiotics because they form biofilms/shields that make them resistant. Everything I've read on cervical ADR removals has been pretty good. Removing lumbar ADR's is dangerous.
  • steve55 said:
    Everything I've read on cervical ADR removals has been pretty good. Removing lumbar ADR's is dangerous.
    I have read the same. I'm actually quite happy with the info. I've obtained from Dr's and my own personal research regarding the discs and the procedure.. Do you by any info to share on your recovery?? I'm finding the net lacking on good info regarding the recovery after an ADR
  • Not sure what you want to know. I can add that my 3 level ADR was a much more painful recovery than my 3 level fusion. Though, I was pain free for the first 4 months after revision to fusion, I'm suddenly having pain problems now. Sure wish I could have kept my ADR's. On the other hand, I have read many stories from ADR support of people who are worse off after ADR. I have a friend who lives nearby who had lumbar ADR that is subsiding and needs revision like I did, but unlikely due to infection like me. Fusion vs ADR , no way of knowing which is best for each patient. I personally think it depends on the skill and experience of the surgeon, and also, if the surgeon doesn't free up the nerve compression enough, you may not have a good result with either one. I also read that the movement that ADR allows can cause bone spur growth which can cause future pain. I guess each one has it's positives and negatives. Just realize that ADR is by no means a sure bet. Just pm me if you have any more questions. : )
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