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Severe pain after Prodisc L implant

Hello all,
This will be my first post on the forum and am looking forward to hearing from everyone on here. Anyways, Im 25 years old and have been going to pain management since I was 19 due to a disc herniation at l4-l5 which pressed on spinal nerves causing severe pain in the lower back and legs. The surgeon who diagnosed me said he wont operate on me because of my age and my only option was pain management.
After many years I decided I wanted to follow my dream of becoming a pilot but unfortunately pilots can't take 40mg oxycodone/day. So I went for a second opinion with another surgeon. When I told him I didn't want to take narcotics anymore, he asked me why I waited so long to have surgery. Ugh because the surgeon at the orthopedic institute said I was too young. I was blown away by this. Within 4 weeks of seeing the second surgeon, I was on the OR table to have the prodiscL, artificial disc implanted.
The surgery went well with minimal blood loss and decompressed nerves. My hospital stay was 3 days and by that 3rd day my pain was at a 5 for the first time in years with no leg pain, not even a tingle. Around day 5 I started noticing pain shooting down the back of my legs to about the knee even worse than before. Now I am 12 weeks out from surgery and having severe pain at the location of the artificial disc. I cant even lift a gallon of milk without consequence. I told my DR. that my pain wasn't under control and he added mscontin 15mg er and Neurontin.
Now the pain in my back has become worse than before and Im regretting even having the surgery. Also instead of just a little numbness or pain in the leg, now my left leg goes completely numb to the point of falling, as well as urinary incontinence.
I don't know what to do, Im 25 years old, I walk with a cane and am in excruciating pain. Im just too young for this and it has made me very depressed. I feel like I have the pain of a terminal illness just without the end in sight.
Sorry for the rant I just have no one to vent to. But long story short my Pain DR. wants to switch me to dilaudid tablets instead of the Percocet, but after surgery I was on IV Dilaudid and it didn't even help as well as the Percocet. I don't know much about medications and have a dr appointment this Monday and want to talk with him about altenatives to dilaudid. I guess he wants to do an opioid rotation, but why change the med when its the only one that has ever gave relief? What options do I have medication wise instead of Percocet or dilaudid? And also are there any better alt. to mscontin because it seems to provide no relief. The next step is a spinal cord stimulator but im very weary of it. Somebody please guide me in the right direction. I am in so much pain and have to find something that works better than my current regimen. Im at my wits end.

Thank you for any replies.


  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 08/09/2014 - 9:18 AM
    in the lumbar spine. DId you do any research yourself before going ahead with this surgery? Talk to other surgeons for a second or third opinion?
    Has the PM doctor given you any ideas about what is causing the increased pain, numbness and other symptoms? Made any recommendations to find out what might be causing these symptoms? If not, you really want to know the answers to those questions, before going ahead with allowing another implant to mask the symptoms.
    And a consult or two with other surgeons might be your best option now........along with ongoing treatment with the pain treatment doctor while you figure out what the exact cause is of the pain and ongoing symptoms and what can be done about it.


  • edited 08/18/2014 - 7:18 AM
    Thank you for for the warm welcome Liz and thank you for letting me know some of the forum rules n stuff :)
    Hello Sandi,
    I hope all is well. Thank you for the links regarding the ADR's. I did a lot of research before the surgery as I have terrible anxiety. I read the FDA sudy about it and they were mentioning like 90% success. Went on youtube, looked it up saw a guy up jumping and dancing 1 week post op. I guess people with failed ADRs aren't making youtube videos. So went with the surgery.

    Now 3 or 4 months post op and I hate my life more than before. Severe pain with every move I make. Shooting pain down legs and recently urinary incontinence. Ive told my surgeon and now he just wants to implant another money maker or tells me to go back to pain management. Im seriously at my wits end. PM doc just switched my ER morphine 15 mg to methadone 10mg twice a day. The methadone has actually been helping a little bit and has reduced the pain shooting into my legs but im still taking two sometimes 3 Percocet out of my 4 allotted daily when I have a flare up or episode of unbelieveable , take your breath away pain. I don't know what to do. I know things could always be worse but most 25 year olds aren't worse.

    sorry for the rant.
  • I understand. Unfortunately, like many others, myself included, when I was faced with spine surgery , I looked heavily into adr as an option rather than face fusion.......adr was newer then, and there were several devices to choose from.....over the months in between my first and second surgery, I was able to locate studies that were just starting to come out regarding adr in the lumbar spine, and many of the reports started showing that adr in the lumbar spine was not having the great successes that it was said to have........and there were issues with some of the studies being funded by the manufacturer's , so the results were skewed in favor of better outcomes in regard to lumbar implants.
    The best suggestion that I can make is to consult with another spine surgeon regarding what can be done. They most likely will suggest revising the adr to fusion and leaving the adr in situ ( meaning where it is)......removing it at some levels of the lumbar spine poses too much risk to the major abdominal blood vessels to remove it.
    I'm so sorry that you are going through this.
  • I had ADR back on September 9, 2014. It is the best thing I have done. I am 95% pain free. I was suffering from degenerative disc disease of L5/S1. The disc had degenerated down to bone on bone. My recovery was flawless, no unusual pains, tingling, numbness, absolutely perfect. I was in the hospital for 4 days, off work for 8 weeks. I had been dealing with low back pain for 5 years and it had progressed to the point that I had trouble walking, sitting and sleeping. I was on large doses of pain meds. 40mg of Oxycotin 3x day, 80mg of Oxycodone 4x day at the same time. Now after surgery I only take over the counter, Advil, Tylenol, Aleve when needed. I would do it all over again if needed. My surgeon was one of the doctors who participated in the trial study for ADR FDA clearance. He had done hundreds of ADRs. I could have not asked for a better experience from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. I highly recommend selecting the ADR instead of fusion.
  • Sounds like what I am going through right.I to had a severe herniated disc l5 s1 for 4 and a half years.Terrible sciatica pain down both leg and aching back.
    I could not live with it so when offered the pro disc l surgery after 4 years of being told there is nothing they could do...it will heal on its own lol.... I jumped on it.
    Unfortunately after 2 years of compression of the nerve there is good chance of permanent nerve damage which is likely the pain you are experiencing considering your sciatic nerve was severely compressed for 6 years.
    You should have had the surgery after a year with no improvement in pain..
    My surgery was less then a month ago and like you my sciatic pain down my legs feels worse then before.
    I also am experiencing bowel dysfunction but it seems to be getting better.
    I don't think my pain is caused by the ADR but permanent nerve damage from being compressed for 4+ years.
    It is like I got some feeling back in my leg and can feel the sciatic nerve pain much more then before.
    Hopefully it gets better with time.How is your pain now after a year?
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