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artificial disc replacement

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
New to board. I have a significant disc bulge at C5C6 with mild cord compression at C5 and nerve root compression at C6. I have symptoms of left arm numbness and tingling. I also had severe cervicogenic headaches but those have resolved. Original MRI and evaluation was done in May. Spine surgeon recommended discectomy with fusion. I have concerns about this procedure due to the risk of adjacent segment disease and limited range of motion. I am very interested in artificial disc replacement but my surgeon feels that the technology is still in its infancy and that the current artificial discs will be improved upon. Has anyone had disc replacement surgery? If you have had a fusion, have you had a recurrence of symptoms or new disc disease?


  • Tingle, I am sorry you are having problems. I haven't had any surgery but have researched the adr a lot. Depending on what part of the country you live in there are several Drs that have been doing the adr for several years. I have gone to two different ortho surgeons. One who has been doing adrs since 2004 recommends it and the other who doesn't do them said he doesn't recommend it. I think they are like car salesman. It was the same thing with hip and knee replacements. When they first came out Drs wouldn't do them and now they are saying the replacements are the only thing they will do. They are going to promote what they like and are good at.

    You have to do what is good for you and your life style. In the research that I have done most patients who get fusions have to get more surgery down the road. Check out this forum and the old one for some experiences. The US has been doing adrs since 2000 that I've read. Europe has been doing adrs since the 80's. They have had wonderful results in Europe. There is a web site similar to this one, most of the members have had adrs. Some have had bad experiences and some good just like here. Check it out. It will help you trememdously. adrsupport.com.

    Don't rush into something without knowing your options and get a second or even a third opinion. Research. There are a lot of studies that have great information. See which Drs in your insurance groups are doing ADRs and find out how many they have done. A lot of insurances are covering single ADRs so that is a good sign for adrs.

    Have you had any kind of treatments for you condition? ex: PT, epidural, accupuncture, massages, trigger point injections.

    I know that everyone has their opinions but I want an ADR and not a fusion with the research I've done. One of my husband's co-workers is getting an ADR in his lumbar area in Nov with a very respected Dr in San Antonio. He has two herniated disc and one bulging disc. They are going to remove one disc and replace with the ADR, do a laminectomy on the other herniated disc. Let's see how it turns out for him considering I also have three injuried levels. Technology is advancing everyday and new techniques are being learned.

    I hope you find some relief.

    large bulge at c5-6, minimal bulges c6-7 and c7-t1
  • Clarissa thank you so much for your thoughts. I have the same concerns about fusion. The data is very encouraging on the cervical disc replacements. I am located in Indiana and I have found a site two hours from my home that is doing a clinical trial on a new cervical disc. I have some concerns about migration or failure of the device but you can always have a fusion if the artificial disc fails. You also asked about other conservative therapies. I had physical therapy early in the summer and just received a trigger point injection this week. I felt pretty good during and shortly after PT but then the symptoms returned. I have also had multiple massage sessions. It works wonders for the muscle spasms. My initial symptoms included daily migrainal headaches, arm weakness and numbness and tingling of the left hand. The tingling has improved and the headaches have been reduced to just a few a month so I have made some progress. I do still have trouble sleeping and find I wake up often with numb and tingling arms. I just keep hoping that I can buy more time to get another opinion and let cervical disc technology improve. Thanks again for the reply.
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  • My OS has submitted my ADR surgery to my insurance and we are waiting approval (apparently, since it is so new, it can be pretty hard to get insurance to pay for it!). He wants to use the Prodisc-C on me, which was just approved by the FDA in Dec 2007. (I can't remember the name of the other ADR model, but I know it's been around longer). My dr was involved in the clinical trials of the Prodisc-C, and thinks it's just about the greatest thing since sliced bread! He wants to replace C6/7. I also have a bone spur at C5 that he would trim down. If I get fusion, it would have to be at 2 levels: C5-C7. He shares my concern that since I'm only 35, even if a fusion lasted 5-10-15 years without causing damage to the adjacent discs, I would certainly be facing another surgery at SOME point. I am also a single mother, and while my parents would certainly be there every step of the way, I am VERY concerned about recovery time and how long I would be out of work!

    I will continue to post on here as things progress, and hopefully very soon I'll be able to post about my ADR surgery!
  • I wish I could have waited for ADR approval, but when the disk puked it guts out I was in so much pain that even strong opiates would not touch it.
  • I also suffer from degenerative disease at C4-5,C5-6,and bone spurs.I have seen 3 NS. The 1st said fusion NOW, the second told me wait for artificial disc to be approved. Third doc saw me today and is expereienced with cervical ProDisc surgery. He also helped develop it. He told me I am a good candidate cause of my age . I have suffered 2 years w/pain shooting down left side of back, numbness, tingling in arms and hands. Massage therapy weekly and an epidural shot are what keep it bearable. I am so glad I found this site.I feel isolated cause friends and family look at me with blank stares and can not grasp the anxiety ,fear I feel about having spinal surgery. The NS today told me some NS have fears of ADR's causing people to have repeated occurence of "bone spurs" .Anyone else been told this by NS?
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  • I had and ADR in April 2006 and after have large bone spurs grow that are causing complications, along with many other problems. I am currently on 8 medications a day and live in severe pain emminating from my neck and head. I also have electric 'episodes' that probably stem from the pressure on the spinal column.
  • I would definitely try the disc replacement because I had the neck fusion and it's awful. It took the pain from my arm and under my shoulder blade BUT the headaches and popping of the neck all the time is awful.
  • Hey- I just had 2 ADR and a fusion done in Aug. using the Prodisc-C . My situation is that I had 4 ruptures all on top of each other and my NS told me about this gray area….. So we decided to put a ADR on c-3,4 and c 5,6 and then fuse c 6,7. I wish I could have done all of them with the ADR. I am having trouble with the fusion! Lots of spasms but I know they will work out. I am getting ready to have another ADR done in my lower lumbar.
    I was my NS first patient to have a multilevel ADR. It is GREAT
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