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Has anyone had disc replacement

I am just curious if anyone has had disc replacement? I have read all your stories about having fusions and pain lingering afterwards. I am hoping that isn't what is happening to me, but I am wondering if the success is better with just replacing the disc instead of fusing it. Just curious


  • My neurosurgeon said there are many who have had disc replacements only to come back later & have fusions done. I also wondered if that would be the better route to go, but he advised me against it & said due to my extent of degeneration that it would not work for me. I keep praying the pain will one day cease. My surgery was this past Sept 24 so I am 4 weeks out. How far along are you?
  • I am a beginner, I've had neck, arm, and back pain since the end of August. I am on my 2nd doctor, my first doctor wouldn't help me at all, said heres some prednisone and flexeril, You will be fine in 3 days. I wasn't ok after 3 days and he called me in anti inflammatory meds and said PT. I just finished my 2nd PT appt yesterday and an MRI. Both of my dr.'s say I have a herniated disc in my neck which im not a dr. but the way I see my MRI, I have 2. One is not really that bad, I see it pushing into my spinal column but not touching the cord and the second one I see is pushing into my spinal cord. I go see my doc again tomorrow so he can go over my MRI with me and tell me what he wants to do from here. I am hoping that I can get by with just a few shots or something. PT said they can't really help me anymore because traction is to painful for me and the massaging isn't giving me any relief.
    Thank god I have an easy job right now where I can sit and stay pretty much immobile all day. I know after they make me move my head at the doctors and at PT it must really tick that nerve off because for 2 or 3 days afterwards I am in some pain!!!
    Are you still in pain even after your fusion? How long did you suffer before you went to surgery?
  • I have had neck pain for 7 years or so & didn't consider surgery for it until it started affecting my arms, elbows & hands. I was having major pain/burning in my elbows & was told by my PC physician that it was just tendonitis. Several months went by & the pain was not letting up so my husband suggested I go to my rheumatologist & see what he had to say... Needless to say, he told me the pain was coming from my neck & that I needed to see my neurosurgeon asap so that is what I did. I had the surgery scheduled for Sept 12th but chickened out and cancelled it. After coming back from vacation I rescheduled for Sept 24th & did go through with the surgery. I am still having pain after surgery but it is a different kind of pain I believe. The pain that was going down into my elbows disappeared right after surgery. Pain that I am having now is at base of back of neck & up back of head. Also across shoulder blades though I do think the muscle spasms have eased quite a bit. Praying you are able to make the best choice & that you are able to find some relief soon.
  • My doctor said that he would recommend me for surgery but he would like to try the epidural shots in my neck first. I really don't want to have the surgery if I can avoid it so I am going ahead with the shots. He is hoping that they will make the pain go away and give my body time to heal myself. If it comes down to having the surgery then I am going to ask about the artifical disc because I am scared that I will lose to much motion in my neck and plus my mri said I have 2 hernias and 6 or 7 other bulges and all of my discs are dehydrated and mild stenosis in alot of my neck and upper back. I am also scared that I will have more problems above and below the fusion if I get that done. My hernias are c2/c3 and c5/c6.
  • Replacement I had to have a 3 level fusion becuase of the degeneration. I was NOT a candidate for disk replacement I asked but to much damage. It's a great concept, but If you have any pressure on the cord it must be de-compressed. If not you could end up with permanent nerve damage and You do NOT want to live like that. Just ask someone on this site who is Living with permanent Nerve Damage, and they have SCS implanted in them. The spine has a Mind of it's own. Get many opinions, just my Opinion I am not a Medical Doctor.

    Good Luck on what ever has to be done!!!
    ACDF C4-C7 5/13/2010. Synthetic Bone Graft Failed Fusion.
    PCF C4-C7 8/13/13. Rods and Screws Fused in 3 Months with Autograft.
    C6-C7 Spineous process Surgically Shaved Off 3/11/14.
  • jbnms99jjbnms99 Posts: 182
    edited 10/29/2013 - 3:32 AM
    I know people say its not a whole lot but with the fusion you lose some of the motion in your neck. I am scared that it is going to be something I won't get used to. Also, If my other discs are bulging but not completly herniated yet then there is probably a greater chance that they are going to be the next to go. I am worried that with so many bulges and the degeneration in all my discs at age 36 that I am going to end up with my entire neck being fused or live in pain for the rest of my life. I have been completely healthy up to this point, no pain, very active, loving life then in late August I woke up with a stiff neck and then the pain radiating down my neck to my arm and fingers, then I find out all this other junk about my neck. I can't stand the staying still being careful and trying not to move my head. It is driving me crazy. I just stopped all my meds on monday, I got tired of taking them and they weren't really doing anything to help anyway. I go to a pain doctor on wednesday, she can do the shots. I am hoping that she is going to help me.
  • Jb
    I have C.5/6/7 fused and have almost my full range of motion.
    If you met me and I did not tell you I had the surgery you would not know.
    A lot depends on how you treat yourself after surgery. I let the fusion take then started out slow on getting the ROM back. I do a arthritis pool class twice a week for years now to keep my ROM. This was in 2006 and my levels above and below are still good. We all do different.
    There is no book that says what you will have. Your attitude and effort can make a big difference.

    Good Luck
  • I am hoping that it doesn't come down to it but if I have to have the fusion to make it feel better then that is what I will do. I try and always have a positive outlook and I am an overachiever, so I know I will try and keep my rom. Just praying that it doesn't come down to that. I see a pain management dr. today to evaluate me and get me set up for the shots!
  • I had a two fusion on C-3/4 and 5/6 back in May. One due to Herniated disk and the other one due to stenosis and narrowing of my spinal cord. I was walking within two hours and went home along. A week later, I could do pushups and sit-ups. A month later, I was back practicing martial art. Don't get me wrong; I still feel muscle cramps on my neck and minor numbness on my pinky and adjacent finger, but overall healing is going well. I have a follow-up next Monday with my neurosurgeon. The NS told me before it would take 6 months to a year to completely fuse. Good luck to all of you in your recovery.
  • That is awesome that you could return to you normal active lifestyle almost right away. If I need to have anything done I know I would push myself in that same way. I hope everything stays on the up side for you.
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