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ADR or ACDF success stories?

I'm 35 years old, thin, in good shape and do everything I'm supposed to. Unfortunately I was cursed with a bad spine.
I've had 2 previous lumbar surgeries in the past 11 years. One open d/s and one micro d/s both at L4-L5.
Now in the past few months I've started having cervical issues. After pain in my neck and shoulders turned to tingling, numbness and nerve pain down my arms I called my n/s. After exhibiting hyperreflexes he sent me for a cervical MRI with a follow up w/ him immediately after.
Monday morning I had the MRI. At the appt following, I was informed I have a disc extrusion causing severe spinal stenosis and displacing and flattening my spinal cord at C6-C7. He also feels im exhibiting signs of mylopathy. He wants to do an ADR or ACDF of the one level.
I also have disc bulges and protrusions at the 3 levels above and 1 level below causing moderate stenosis but no contact with the cord (yet). Apparently my spinal canal is congenitally small.
I understand I'm young and I don't want my entire neck fused, but I'm worried that we take care of the 1 level now and I end up back here soon, needing another surgery.
I have done a round of steroids. My n/s said the only p/t he was willing to allow me to do is traction due to the spinal cord compression. I tried that last night and it made my pain way worse.
Looks like I'm on the road to surgery and I'm just praying my insurance will pre-authorize the ADR as I'm sure the fusion will inevitably lead to more surgeries.
At this point, I'm just really looking for other members experiences with similar types of situations. As I said, I'm new to the cervical side so I just have no idea what I'm in for.
Thank you in advance to anyone wiling to share their story with me!:)
March 2002 L4-5 open d/s
July 2012 L4-5 micro d/s
November 2013 L4-5 micro d/s
December 2013 C6-7 ADR


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I had ACDF c4-c5 in May 2012. I'm fully fused, some minor pain and numbness and tingling, but I'm on no pain meds. Not limited in anyway. Ask anything you like about the surgery itself, post surgery etc. good luck.
  • Thank you so much for responding! Is there a specific reason you chose to do an ACDF instead of an ADR?
    March 2002 L4-5 open d/s
    July 2012 L4-5 micro d/s
    November 2013 L4-5 micro d/s
    December 2013 C6-7 ADR
  • went with the procedure that my neurosurgeon thought was best. he's a leading surgeon, minimally invasive, no collar afterwards. Very happy with the result.
  • What procedure did you have?
    March 2002 L4-5 open d/s
    July 2012 L4-5 micro d/s
    November 2013 L4-5 micro d/s
    December 2013 C6-7 ADR
  • anterior cervical disc fusion c4-c5 with donor bone
  • Thanks for sharing! How has your recovery been?
    March 2002 L4-5 open d/s
    July 2012 L4-5 micro d/s
    November 2013 L4-5 micro d/s
    December 2013 C6-7 ADR
  • not too bad. I'm fully fused. Have some minor tingling and some arm shoulder pain once in awhile. Back to playing sports, no range of motion lost. Can't complain. Good luck.
  • I'm glad your recovery has gone well! I had a 2nd opinion last week that thinks we can delay surgery a bit with cortisone shots. Did you ever do those?
    March 2002 L4-5 open d/s
    July 2012 L4-5 micro d/s
    November 2013 L4-5 micro d/s
    December 2013 C6-7 ADR
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