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Artificial disc replacements

I'm 33, and am 5 months post-op. I had an anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion at C4-5 with a bone graft (my own bone.) I practically lived at my doctor's office for 2 years getting PT, TPIs, facet blocks, etc. My doc really discouraged the surgery because of my age but I couldn't take the pain any longer.

As soon as I awoke after surgery, I was amazed that for the fist time in 2 years, I had no headache. It was amazing. I had about 3 months of pain free normal living. In June, all of my pre-surg pain in my head, neck, shoulders, and arm came rushing back full force and all at once. I was home alone with my 2 little ones and was crying in severe pain and hyperventillating on the couch. I ended up in the ER, was given some moriphine, had some x-rays taken, and sent home.

Now, 2 months later, I'm still having these same pains. In 2 months' time, my pain level has returned to what it took 2 years to reach last time. I begged my doc for another surgery, he really doesn't want me having another due to the possible complications a second surgery could cause. I have another severe rupture at the adjacent level below my fusion, I was told this was a possibility and would most likely require surgery in the future. I was thinking several years, not several months.

My doc says a fusion wouldn't work because of the one I already have-there is not a place to insert another screw and plate into the vertebra. I asked about using a replacment disc; I wouldn't have to worry about all the pain from the hip where the bone graft was harvested and there would be no need to bother the fusion above. He agreed that this sounded acceptable as a last ditch option.

I'm currently doing my homework and trying to find out everything I can about that procedure and the discs. Everything I'm finding online is in Europe. The patients all appear very happy with their outcomes. Have any of you had these discs and if so which ones? Also, what kind of results did you get and how was the recovery? Did you find this surgery beneficial or did you end up worse than before or at the same pain level you were pre-surg?

Thank you so much for all and any feedback :)


  • ouch2oouch2 Posts: 1,270
    edited 08/28/2012 - 5:38 AM
    Welcome to the site! Im a Canadian mom of two lol. I am sorry that you are having so much pain and trouble so soon after your surgery. I know there are many people on here that have had multiple levels of cervical fusion, so unsure why this is not an option for you.

    I am a lumbar patient but had an adr at L5/S1 seven months ago. I am not one of the successful ones...but there are many out there. You are right that many go overseas to have it done...there are many very talented surgeons that have done so many adrs in England, Spain, Germany etc. I had mine done in Canada. There are surgeons in the states that do one level adr...I believe with the prodisc. I had a Maverick disc. A very popular disc at the moment is the M6...but it is only used overseas.

    Wishing you all the best! I hope that you are able to get multiple opinions, and please try all conservative measures as well. Please keep us updates on how you are doing.
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Thanks for the info. I was doing a lot of research on the M6 so it figures that it isn't used in the states. I'm so sorry your surg didn't work for you. Were you worse off afterward or did your pain stay about the same? I'm doing daily PT and multiple injections twice a week for now. I have an MRI scheduled today, wish me luck :) I pretty much already know what its going to say, but a girl can hope.
  • ouch2oouch2 Posts: 1,270
    edited 09/07/2012 - 2:36 AM
    was such a huge loss to people when such an amazing surgeon passed away earlier this year. He was truly amazing, going by what I have heard from so many patients that had him as their surgeon. There are many other highly skilled surgeons that use the M6 if you are able to travel overseas. Unfortunately, that was not an option for me financially.
    I hope that all went well with your MRI. When will you have the results? Does your doctor that you are seeing perform adr surgery? Are you able to get another opinion from a fellowship trained ortho/neuro surgeon? The prodisc is used in the U.S.

    Since my surgery, I am about the same and continue to stretch, use meds, heat, ice, tens and to help. Am going to try injections again.

    I am sure it is very difficult for you dealing with the pain, especially caring for two little ones at home at the same time. Hope that you are able to get some help to ease your pain.
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
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