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Disc replacement

anniemikaanniemik Posts: 1
edited 02/04/2015 - 8:41 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Short - long:
I have suffered from years of neck and back pain. Over the last few years the neck pain has severely worsened. After multiple neck injections they finally performed a discograph and found the pain is generating from C3-C4. I am naturally fused at C2-C3 and have degeneration in all levels of my cervical spine, not to mention I also have severe stenosis. I recently decided to have disc replacement surgery. My reasoning for such was due to my young age of 35 and the other levels are already degenerating and a fusion would only increase that degeneration. The insurance company denied the disc replacement but said I could have the fusion. The denial was based on their criteria that I must have arm pain and numbness. That is not my primary issue but rather severe pain in the cervical area almost like a vice is grippping my spine. All that said, has anyone had the disc replacement? Am I correct in my reasoning to choose disc replcacement over the fusion? The insurance companies denial has led me to second guess a decision I felt quite certain about. Please help


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Welcome to Spine-Health

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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'm not sure about the C-spine, but I had the same thoughts when I had an Artificial Disk Replacement in my lumbar at L5S1. I thought it would protect my other disks. Unfortunately, I recently had to have the 3 disks above fused.
    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
  • Although lumbar, I had an ADR at L3/4, plus a 2 level 360 fusion with cages and instrumentation at L4/5, L5/S1. That was 5 weeks ago. We did that in place of a 3 level fusion for the exact reason you are describing, the ADR allows for some movement above the fusion and hopefully is less likely to degenerate the level above. I feel really great. I had some leg pain starting day 10, but after starting PT it has decreased significantly and I am beginning to think will go away completely. I did have to fight insurance (United healthcare), as they do not cover ADR, but we pay for a supplemental "special care" $2/month:) that pays for stuff like that. Thank goodness as the hospital bill alone was $155,000- I have not even received the surgeon, anesthesia, or vascular surgeon bills yet.:(. Anyways from what I understand insurance companies are far more likely to pay for cervical ADR, so you might appeal, also ask your doc to do a peer-to-peer review. This helps.
    I am 37, so for me a 3 level fusion was just a bad idea....
    Hope that helps! Brandy
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