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artificial discs or fusion??

sabinadssabinad Posts: 10
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Had an auto accident in 11/09. Started having pains in my neck, arms, wrists, shoulders and hands. My doctor sent me for an MRI.
MRI results follow:
1. Some diffuse congenital canal stenosis. Loss of disc height c4-c5.
2. Severe central canal stenosis at c4-c5 level, secondary to central disc protrusion and bilateral posterior osteophytic changes. Questionable cord compression centrally. There is bilateral foraminal compromise.
3. Central and right sided disc protrusion of c5-c6 with moderate to severe central stenosis and right sided foraminal compromise.
4. Central an right sided disc protrusion of c6-c7 with moderate central canal compromise. No foraminal stenosis.

I tried physical therapy and take many pain meds, that hasn't helped. My doc suggested a neurosurgeon.

First opinion, neurosugeon recommended fusion c4-c7. He explained the proceedure, asked if I had any questions, shook my hand and left the office.

For my second opinion, I decided to call the head of neurosurgery at a major teaching hospital. The doctor was on vacation and I saw the PA. Well the PA recommended 2 artificial discs, one at c4 and the other at c7 with fusion in between for stability. He also said if it were up to him, he would put me in a "collar" right now. He didn't give me a collar. He then went on to say that if I had any trauma to my neck I could be paralyzed!! Talk about scary! The office is supposed to call me to set up an appointment with the doctor...no thanks!

I went back to the first neurosurgeon and I asked about artificial discs. He said that he couldn't use them because you can't use artificial discs on more than one level.

Has anyone had artificial discs instead of fusion on more than one level?



  • i will prob soon be having a ACDF, Cervicel, c-c-5 c-6 c-7, with rods, no bone graff,
    my pain is tingling in left hand when it get cooler my bones pop out of my neck bruised, the big killer the headaches, walked in to the doc, cuz worried already went through 2 back surgeries!! and last November found out about my neck, done everything , epidural ,and pt therapt, for 6 weeks i think that made my headaches worse, i have decided, to do it soon, as possible the same neuro who did my back, i am also fused in the back area, scared but if i wait and wait it will only get worse
  • this is the uk's advice as given to me by the top man in the north .ADR is very good BUT can only be done where the spine is in otherwise very good condition .ie if you needed L4/L5 fusion or ADR you could have ADR {the better option for movement} if if L3 was in good condition AND there was no sign of arthritis in the parts of the spine where the implants are going to be installed ..a fusion if done well is the gold standard for persistent back pain .BUT both these operations are very risky and you must not go in to surgery without giving everything a go first .and then you MUST MUST MUST find the best surgeon to do the work this is an area of the body that you can not afford to have a Muppet operate on you .the surgery carries many risks and it will take months even years to fully recover from ..then you may never be totally pain free and still require pain killers for the rest of you life .when you are at the ADR/fusion stage of your back treatment ..this is it folks ..nothing left ..so make sure that you pick a very good surgeon ..i am in the process of having test to see if i am a suitable candidate for a 360 multi level lumbar fusion ..i cant have ADR because i have too much arthritis ...think hard my friend before you make any decisions i am free to talk to anytime
  • was told that you can't have a disc replacement at more than one level, but I have seen a few people on here who have had it done. Of course, I had spondy, scoliosis, some arthritis, and DDD, so I guess that's why I wasn't a candidate.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I have had a combo of ADR and Fusion May 2009 L4L5-ADR and L5-S1 fused. I was also told that you could not have ADR on top of each other but have heard of it being done in other countries. I was told by my doc that this was the best option for me because of my age and fusion puts alot of stress on other disc which in turn would need to be fused in the future. This way the ADR would take the bulk of the stress and save the discs above it and makes my flexability better than if we fused the whole area.
  • :) I have one more doctor to see on 9/15. I am curious to hear what he has to say. I think the PA was trying something new and experimental on me, since it is a teaching hospital. Maybe the latest and greatest. I've done some research on the artificial discs and it doesn't seem that they are even used on the cervical spine. Thanks for listening and for all the great links and advice. I'll let you guys know what the third doc says.
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