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Artifical Disc Removal, anyone?

Anyone had removal of artificial discs? Anywhere, or more specifically at L5-S1 or L3-L4? Please tell me about your experience (any improvements?) as I'm facing artificial disc removal surgery at this section to transform failed artificial discs into fusion. Thank you for your feedback.


  • Contemplating removal of a lumbar ADR is a Very Big Deal. If you have keeled implants like ProDisc, explanting them appears to be somewhere between horribly difficult and life threatening. From what I've seen, unless the implant has moved or subsided to the point that it's causing harm, they're generally left in place and a "gutter fusion" is done around them.

    But don't trust an anonymous person on the web. ADR revision is definitely a procedure that warrants multiple surgeons' opinions.
    August 2013 C7-T1 MED
    July 2013 L4-L5-S1 TLIF
    December 2011 C5-C6 ADR
    April 2009 L5-S1 MED
  • Todd In PainTTodd In Pain Posts: 23
    edited 02/04/2014 - 7:37 PM
    Thanks for your post. It's ProDisc at L5-S1 and another ProDisc at L3-L4, L4-L5 is a fusion. The problematic level is L5-S1. As you correctly mentioned in your prior post, ADR in lumbar can't handle the load, it's good for neck & not the back. The implant has not dislodged, but it's movement is causing nerve issues, probably compression, although MRI/CT's don't show anything due to artifacts. Just fusing the Artificial Disc is an option, but surgeons have said there is a more predictable outcome with explanting the artificial disc and turning it into a regular fusion. It's a big decision and I'm in my early 40's and am looking for a option that can provide me more mobility pain free for some more years. Unfortunately, not too many surgeons have experience with removing artificial discs and doing such revision surgeries. Any referral would be appreciated.
  • I'm assuming you went to Europe to have your original surgery since you had two which isn't approved in the US? Perhaps you should consider going back for their removal. I wonder if insurance would even pick up part of the tab? Good luck and please keep us informed.
    Artificial disc at L5S1 for 10 years. Had 3 Level lumbar fusion and Laminectomy on Sept 27, 2013. It was an OLIF (Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion) with cages, BMP, rods & screws. Norco, Plaquenil
  • Thank you for your post. No it was done in the U.S. (Calif.) and all levels were done at same time, 2 ADR & 1 Fusion. The doctor mentioned that it's not FDA approved, but said it's a better option for you (than 3 level fusion) the doctor did it anyway. Now my option seems to be removal of Artificial Discs and converting into fusion.
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