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3 Level Artierial Lumbar Fusion

kendrakkkendrak Posts: 79
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:37 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am planning on 3 level lumbar fusion in November. I am 33 and was in a car accident when I was 15, I had a percutaneous discetomy at age 16 to L4-5. I reinjured at 25 and torn 1 disc and had the other two bulging. Now after having a baby I have L3-S1 that are torn, bulging and hitting the nerves so badly that my legs go numb and I'm in a lot of pain. It gets so bad my torso does a lateral shift trying to compensate. I've done so many steroids, pills, injections, etc. I looked into artificial disc, but there just isn't the research for 3 level ADR. So I am going for a fusion in Novemeber. Does anyone out there have positive stories for me and what to expect? I've read a lot of terrible stories about fusions and artificial disc experiences. I'm scared and just need some positives.
Thanks! ;-)



  • 3 levels- do you think Fusions or Artificial Discs are better for L3-S1?
  • Hi

    I just googled videos for "3 level disc replacement" and some videos came up that you may find interesting.

    One in particular is one I seen a couple years back which you can find here: image

    I find that google can provide many answers (and sometimes more questions) but you need to search for what you want in so many different ways. EG: try also disc replacement india or disc replacement germany or change words to adr or spelling to disks. The differences sometimes pick up information that you would normally miss. I look at google, the images, and also the videos to see what I get.

    Its a tough decision you have in front of you. I am having some current issues with my ADR charite (as you know) and wont see my surgeon till end of Nov so thats too late to update you on what he says in case it provides info to help your decision.

    My main advice is: find the absolute best surgeon that you can and make sure you trust him 100%; check out his history, ask to talk to patients especially those from some time back to guage how they are really doing "years" afterwards; get as fit as you can; take vitamins and supplements (I take calcium, calcium with Vit D in it, glucosamine, fish oil caps and all at least at double the daily dose); I would think the calcium supplement is important if you go fusion even if a dr says its not; and a 3 level ADR would be tough to handle long term with their past history, so I would be thinking either a combination of ADR and fusion or fusion only. From everything I have ever read, the only fusion I would be comfortable with is Anterior (front) to prevent them cutting your back muscles which I hear will give you (highly likely) immense problems in the future. An anterior approach separates the front muscles but will mean you need to work hard torebuild core strength later. I dont know if 3 level anterior is possible though?

    My surgeon here in Australia is one of the most experienced in Australia - over 2000 implants. Maybe worth a call or email even if its to ask for an over the phone/email consult or opinion on whether you should even be looking at 3 level ADR. I know he has done 2 level before and I believe they were successful at the time (I dont know now though). He also is in contact with all the best surgeons in the world so would have an idea on what their consensus of opinion would be on the chances of success for it. Let me know if you want his details. He also did part of the design on the charite - the coating to allow bone growth I think, which prevents/minimises slippage, and also designed the tool to implant them)

    You seem to have come to the fork in the road that says ADR one way and Fusion the other. Maybe there will be a combination or an alternative? Best wishes on the long road ahead for whichever way you turn - Mick
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  • Just 2 thoughts I got when watching this - image

    perhaps either:

    1) minimal invasive surgery involving implanting nuclear cells (stem cells?) see the video above (wish I did b4 my surgery)

    2) a prodisc, maverick, or other ? ADR (not charite) at the top most failed disc and anterior fusion below. Some loss of motion etc due to fusion, but preserve those healthy discs above by use of a suitable ADR.

    Just some thoughts I just had.

    I think I would definately be looking for something different to either fusion and even ADR if its available. As Dr. Rudolf Bertagnoli says at this video - (image) - if you start at fusion you got nowhere to go if it goes wrong. If you start at some other place or method, the worst that can happen (hopefully) is you end up at fusion. But by trying something else you may preserve motion and have the better life we crave after all.

    An alternative to ADR is probably not available where you and I live though which will make it harder to make it happen, but where there is a will there is a way! I will be very interested in what you decide and how you go.

    Whatever you decide, life wont necessarily get any easier because of the surgery, but hopefully it does. So dont pin all your hopes on this particular surgery so you dont come crashing down later like me. I thought I would be 90 to 100% better afterwards and now have bad pain which is feeling like it is getting worse each week/day. Even if I thought of it being 60% better I wouldnt be happy now. BUT if I thought of it as being the start of a journey to try find the right surgery/method for me and my spine, maybe I would not be as depressed as I have been. I should be thinking that OK this doesnt look like its worked, but there are still options for me. But I am struggling to see it that way now, particularly when I no longer provide the financial support for the family (wife and 3 kids) and see the stress and strain I place on them.

    Best wishes, mick
  • I just was reading your posts and wondered if you had your surgery.
  • I did not have the fusion. I am now preparing for the Artificial Disc in either Germany or France. My surgeon told my husband 2 weeks before the fusion that we should really look into ADR, so we are going that route. I think I will have a good outcome. Thanks for asking.

    What about you? Did you go fusion or ADR or none?
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  • 10 weeks ago I had a 5 level fusion 2 years before
    that I had a 3 level are they going in through the
    front at the neck or through the back that makes
    a big difference, at least for me it did.Good luck it just takes awhile to heal. kw
  • Kendrak, I am 2 weeks post-op for L3-S1 fusion. The surgery itself was a little rough, but I was able to return to work last Monday (Nov.23.)as an Outside Salesman for a Construction Supply company. I had been living with my pain for 31 years and my family doctor decided that I needed to get off the pain meds. (30mg. Morphine 4 times/day and Percoset whenever I needed them.) The surgery seems to be a complete success so far as the pain that I had in my lower back and radiating down my left leg is completely gone. I'm still hurting from the surgery itself, but it's getting better by the day. The staples came out last Tuesday and the nurse said all looked good. I will go back for my 1 month check up on Dec.11th and he'll let me know when I can start weaning off the brace. I'm really glad I had this done. I also had a 3 level anterior fusion in my neck last June done by the same doctor. I am looking forward to the day when I will wake up and be pain and drug free. That day will be coming soon. Good luck on whichever way you choose.
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