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Surgeon Recommending Coflex-F Spinous Process Implant - HELP PLEASE

gfdwarfggfdwarf Posts: 7
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have suffered for over a year now from a spinal injury resulting from a hard fall on the ice last January. I detailed my condition in past posts so will not repost it here.

After meeting with two different surgeons I have found what I consider a very fine doctor who is recommending the placment of a Coflex-F at L4-L5, from which my primary problem emanates. I am looking at surgery in February. He recommends leaving the disk in place and simply decompressing the joint and installing the Coflex. He describes very high success rates with this device, even though it has only been approved in the U.S. for about a year, after extensive use in Europe, as I understand it.

I would appreciate any information or thoughts any of you may have on this device.

My condition is DDD at L4-L5, with spinal stenosis, an annular fissure, moderate central/foraminal disk bulge and some herniation. My primary symptom is a very pronounced "electrical" pain within my spine at that level that radiates up and down my lumbar spine. It is pain that is so pronounced that I will tiptoe around all day trying to avoid it. I have days where this pain is active all day long and days that it is not as pronounced, but it never goes away completely. I also experience left and right leg sciatica (though this is certainly secondary relative to the symptom described above) and always have burning pain in my lumbar region.

I am very encouraged at the thought of stabilizing this joint and removing the pressure on the disk, while leaving the disc in place. A full disk removal and traditional fusion scares the heck out of me.

All thoughts and feedback will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,


  • Obviously I cannot comment on the Coflex, because I've never experienced it, neither do I have any professional knowledge - so it's just my opinion OK.

    What I would say is that after you have seen 2 different surgeons, you seem to have faith in one of them and that goes along way. Also, I wouldn't think they would recommend a procedure that they felt you wouldn't benefit from.

    Have you already gone through Pain Management, physiotherapy, trying different medication etc first? Have the required tests been carried out to make sure the disc is 'sound', i.e. Discogram?

    Having a fusion is usually as a last result, after all conservative treatment/medication has been tried first (unless it's an emergency of course). Hopefully, if you have the Coflex and it's successful, then that will be great. If, on the other hand, it doesn't give you the desired pain relief, at least there are alternative procedures they can do afterwards.

    If you have 100 per cent faith in your surgeon and he/she has answered all of your questions and concerns, and you've done as much research as you can and fully understand the pro's and con's, then hopefully you will be totally satisfied with the long term prognosis. If not, then you may need to research more or seek another opinion.

    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • Hi Sue-
    Thank you very much for your reply and encouragement. I agree that confidence and faith in the surgeon means so much. I left his office feeling like I finally had a plan in place and as a result the pain was more tolerable somehow. The other surgeon simply said, "a fusion is your only option" - opening from front and back, Ti rods, etc.. That I DO NOT want to do, at least not yet. Knowing there was a potential "fix" in the works was great for my morale.

    I have indeed tried other approaches, including PT under a Dr.'s supervision, 2 cortisone shots (which did nothing to help and made the problem much worse for a few days). I have not been to a pain clinic, per se, but have been on pain meds (Percoset (5/325), and mixing in oxycodone 5mg without the APAP to try to go easier on my liver, plus Lorazepam as a muscle relaxer as needed) for most of the last year and am sick to death of them, though they are the only thing that currently gives me some relief. Though I am definitely becoming more tolerant with time and they are less effective.

    I am exactly one year post-injury (though I have had a "bad back" for more than five years, this injury was a game changer) and am very ready to opt for the surgery if my insurance carrier will approve it. If they don't I cannot imagine what I would do.

    Again, thank you!


  • I can't give you any personal experience of a Coflex implant, but I have had a fusion and can certainly relate to awful pain. My electric shooting pain was in both my legs with lesser, but still not pleasant pain in my lumbar spine. I am much improved since my fusion, but am now having other problems with my spine coming from higher up, especially my neck.

    I am also, like Sue, in the UK. I am sending you a PM.

  • I month ago, i got a coflex f between L4-L5 and i have to say that 2 week from the operation, i felt good and started to walk, it have been past 26 days already and i feel better. My question is if anybody knows the exercises that i'd do, i'm swimming 30 minutes 3 times a week, waking the others days 1.5 kms, i'm with some pain buy no taking any pills like before the operation. I was 1.5 years with a protrusion and no conservative treatment help me. If i can help anybody i'll be glad to do it.
  • Hello and thank you for the responses and private messages!

    My surgery has now been ordered and is pending insurance approval. I have been told the likely date is early to mid February. Should have a specific date within a week.

    The plan is now to install two Coflex-F devices, one at L4-L5 (my worst disk) and one at L3-L4, which is bulging and degenerating, but to a much lesser degree. I have been told by my surgeon and have read elsewhere that this disk would likely get worse more quickly if we did just L4-L5 and taking care of them both in one process makes sense.

    I have to say, I have not found much negative regarding the Coflex - seems like a lot of fairly positive stories out there, so I am very hopeful.

    In the mean time, the surgery cannot come soon enough for me. The situation seems to be getting worse by the day and is really causing me some problems.

    Again, thank you all for your compassion.

  • I had surgery one week ago. I had the removal of a Synovial Cyst at L3-4 with decompression of the joint as well as decompression and insertion of a Coflex at L4-5. I have expected soreness at the incision area and in my legs but that is normal for 1week post-op. I had numbness in my left leg with electric sensations as well as a history of severe back spasms. I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis and 1st degree spondolythesis in both areas. I had been through months of pain management therapy. Nothing was successful. I no longer have the electric sensations in my legs. I am ambulatory but use a walker temporarily for safeness.
    I would like to hear any other Coflex experiences.

  • Where are you located?
    I haven't had a Coflex fitted, but I have read articles of people who have and it helped them. They have been in the UK, where I am.

    Hopefully this is going to be what you needed to deal with your pain.
  • Just checking in on old discussion. For those that had the Coflex, how are you? I've been scheduled for decompression surgery with a coflex at the L4-L5
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    This is a very old discussion the original poster and those who have responded have not been seen on the forum since this discussion was created so I am closing it.

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
This discussion has been closed.
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