First time poster but like many I have been reading so many stories here on the forums for some time.
I have been having on again off again lower back pain for 7 years and for the past year it's been an everyday thing. Over the past few months it's gotten pretty bad. A MRI in April 2015 showed a 6mm herniation and mild stenosis. A bad sneeze in July 2015 caused a flare-up and new MRI which shows the same herniation, now much worse. The daily pain is pretty bad and it's hard to stand/walk for more than a few minutes at a time. I've tried chiro care, physical therapy and did a course of oral prednisone. The herniation is big enough and enough time has passed that the surgeons's I've been consulting are OK with going right to surgery.
I have 3 opinions so far. Two recommend an open discectomy, laminotomy and insertion of a Coflex device at L4/L5 (both are orthopedic surgeons). The 2nd Dr agreeing to do a Coflex procedure wasn't so much as his own conclusion as agreeing with the first doctor. They both cited similar reasons (age, spinal stability, prevention of a fusion in someone younger).
A differing option is from a well respected neurosurgeon who wants to preform a laminotomy, 2 microdiscecectomies, one on the left one on the right, both focusing on L4/L5. The reason for 2 is that the broadness of the herniation would be hard to get coming in from only one side. Both would be done at the same time. He disagrees with the Coflex insertion but says there is a decent possibility I may need a fusion in the 8+ year range. His aversion to the Coflex insertion is that he feels they are hyped up and in his experience they don't provide much.
All three doctors have done Coflex surgeries. The 2nd Ortho Dr claims to have done about 75+, the first ortho claims to have done around 8.
I am a 35 year old male with a generally sedentary lifestyle and job. I try to be a weekend warrior as much as possible but M-F I'm either sitting or standing at my desk for 8+ hours.
My question is does anyone have experience or found research with a Coflex implantation and found a way to isolate the fact that the Coflex is helping, not just the decompression? I know it's new and it's impossible to get real long term stats on this but in my mind the idea that doing a discectomy just to prevent needing a fusion in time doesn't sound as appealing as doing the discectomy and Coflex implantation. Even if it's not a life-long solution it seems it would certainly buy more time than the discectomy & laminotomy alone. I've done very extensive Google searching and as some have mentioned the lack of data sure is frustrating :-/
Thanks everyone for any help!! Welcome to Spine-Health
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