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Considering disc replacement and could use some referrals or general advise and insight

yellowdogyyellowdog Posts: 2
edited 06/15/2013 - 5:14 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello folks my name is Michael.

My condition? Herniation of both L4 and L5, one slightly posterior the other anterior. Honestly, I can't tell you which is which. I received this lovely gift from a roofing accident many years ago and while it initially wasn't an issue, being young helped with the recovery time but ignorance of what had actually occurred did me no good.

Fast forward 20 years, I'm taking much better care of myself; exercising, etc.. But over the last 6-10 years, I've had some flare-ups. Each occurrence putting me down for 1-2 days minimal movement, 3-5 days working back into core exercises... and another week or so before I can get into any semblance of my previous life style routine. So basically a 1-2 week setback on each instance. Mind you, even between flare-ups, there is noticeable pain, either when bending forward or leaning backwards... life between is not peachy; just more bearable.

At a point in the last few years, I reached out through my chiro and got in touch with a great Sports Medicine Dr. in San Francisco. Who in turn recommended PT; which helped considerably. Still the pain persists, mild flare-ups, etc.

Anyway, I really would like to start thinking about other options. And everything I've read leads me to believe that fusion isn't really an option for me. The statistics alone for adjacent segment degeneration is much greater. I really like to hike, rock climb, etc. and I'm too young at heart to get all buggered down with the decrease in range of motion.

I had read something about LTDR/ADR many years ago and found, at that time, it was only beginning to be reviewed in the US. But now, I've started looking into it again and have found that everything about the procedure is a check in the 'Pro' column. I personally meet all the criteria and, bonus, my insurance covers it as well!

So my question to anyone willing to answer; What is the best practice and/or whom is the best surgeon to perform this in the Bay Area? If not here... what are some general recommendations about moving forward with this?

I really liked the details supplied in this thread:


I've messaged some of the folks therein but considering the age of the thread itself, it might be a while before I get a reply; if any at all.

Questions? Comments? Concerns?

Thanks for taking the time to read my story! I hope to hear from you soon.



  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 06/17/2013 - 7:14 AM
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    I would do a lot more research into adr at the level that you are looking at. While cervical adr has had overall great success, adr in the lumbar region , particularly L5 and the L4 levels has been wrought with problems, and often leads to facet problems, and fusion down the road. Another issue is that none of these replacement discs are meant to last a lifetime, the wear and tear in the disc replacements means that somewhere down the road, they will need replacement and the revision surgery is down right dangerous especially in the lumbar areas due to the major abdominal blood vessels that run through that area. There are only a few surgeons who are experienced at any level with the revisions and they are life threatening when they need to be undergone.
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