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Artificial Disk when you already have a fusion

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello all, I am new so I hope I posted this in the right place. I have had 3 neck surgeries to date, in 03 I had the protruding disk at c5-c6 shaved, then in 05 I had that segment fused. Then in 07 I had to have c6-c7 shaved. I am doing everything I can to avoid another surgery. I have had two steroid shots so far and they don't seem to do much. I am using an inversion table now, just got it, my figures are crossed. What I am trying to find out is can they put an artificial disk in under my fusion? Meaning my fusion in at c5-c6 and I want the new disk at c6-c7. From everything I have been told fusion only beget more fusion, and from my experience that’s the way it appears to be going. My mother had a fusion when I was 1, I am now 42, you would think by now they would be able to. Any information you all can provide will be greatly appreciated.


  • I am 4 weeks post-op from having an ADR done. I had a fusion in '97 at the c4-5 and c5-6 levels. The ADR that was just done is at the c6-7 levels so yes it can be done and covered by insurance.

  • Farkie- It is called a hybrid surgery. Where you have had a fusion and have a ADR. I hope you find some more answers. I have not had any surgeries yet.


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  • I saw an ortho spine about 4 weeks ago who is doing ADR and clinical trials for ADR. I had a ACDF at C6 C7 last year and now my C5 C6 has gone bad. When I asked if I was a candidate for ADR he stated no because it would put too much stress on the artificial disc. I guess I will do more research on this. How are you doing?
  • I am fused from C5-T1 and now my C4-C5 is in need of surgery, my surgeon wants to do a disc replacement to hopefully stop the disc from going as they have been, my only issue is my insurance company is refusing to pay for it, so I think it depends on your doctor and your insurance company on whether it can be done or not.
  • I was told the same thing by my Neurosurgeon. Because of my previous fusion of the C5-7 the new surgery needed at the C4-5 or possibly at the C3-5 would not make me a candidate for Artificial disc replacement because of too much pressure being put on it.
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  • The subtitle for this post could be "Frustrated and angry".

    Laminectomy in April of 2008 for herniated disk at C5/C6. Then ACDF at C5/C6 in February 2009. Now less than six months later I again have pain in upper back/shoulder, mostly on right side. Also intermittent sharp pains in hands, again mostly on right side, but some on left side too. The bizarre thing is that the location of the pain changes. X-ray shows fusion is okay. Doctor sent me for an MRI and recommended McKenzie PT. MRI shows nothing to indicate why I have pain on the right side. Of course, the MRI was taken while I was lying flat on my back with my neck straight, so there was no pressure on my neck. How can that possibly give the doctor an accurate picture of what is going on when I am standing or sitting? It's just stupid. They should have done the MRI while I was standing and with my neck protruded to so they could see what is hitting the nerve(s) - because something is definitely hitting a nerve - but I guess they don't have that kind of MRI machine. I have a news flash for you doctors: If I could lie flat on my back all day I would have no neck pain, but that's not real life, so I consider that very expensive MRI to have been worthless. Well, not exactly worthless. I mean, the hospital and the doctor made some money, right? :|

    I know the pain is very much related to my posture, but I have no faith in these McKenzie movements/exercises. They make absolutely no sense to me. I believe they are going to put more stress on a disc that is already deteriorating. Tonight I woke up with pain down my right arm, which is something I have not had before.

    I now regret having the ACDF. I suspect I will need another surgery soon. Before I decided to proceed with the fusion in February, a surgeon (not the one who did the ACDF) told me I was not a candidate for an artificial disc at C5/C6 due to the laminectomy I'd had. Now a another surgeon tells me I am not a candidate for a cervical ADR because of the fusion. Even if I were a candidate, that doctor's office assistant told me insurance companies have stopped approving ADR.

    It really bothers me that different doctors have different opinions and recommendations. You would think they could tell you what works best for a given problem, but that does not seem to be the case. As someone wrote in another posting, it appears that surgeons' recommendations are influenced strongly by what they know how to do, not necessarily what is best for you.

    I absolutely do not want to have another fusion. This so-called "gold standard" just seems to lead to more problems.

    The pain is very distracting. It makes concentrating on tasks more difficult. It makes me irritable and reduces my tolerance for frustration, so I become short-tempered. I really don't know what to do. I am going to try the recommended PT even though I suspect it will make the problem worse. Someone recommended pain management, but I would rather have the problem fixed - if at all possible - than mask the pain.
  • Check out this web site globalpatientnetwork.com. There is an individual who got 3 fusions on the top cervical level and 3 artifical disc replecements on the bottom 3 cervical levels. So it can be done. There are pictures and all.
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