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ADR vs fusion for adjacent joints

NobigdealNNobigdeal Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

This is my first post so I should introduce myself. I'm a 48 year-old man who has a history of cervical disc problems. I’ve already had a bone fusion at c5/c6 back in 2000 because the disc spontaneously ruptured and crushed my spinal cord. Before that I was a strong, healthy man who was energetic, optimistic and unstoppable. I worked many hours a day and helped people with anything they needed and overall was a happy person with a positive outlook on life. Like so many men, my work defined who I was. I was a researcher who loved to learn new things and better understand the world. Today is a different story. I live with chronic pain from all the damage that was done and now I’m on disability. My world has closed in on me where I don’t have the friends I once did nor do I have much opportunity to make new ones. I really have a difficult time asking for help because it makes me feel even more helpless. I think that’s enough for now.

I’ve just learned that I need another disc removed. Not surprisingly, the joint below my original surgery is bulging and putting significant pressure on my spinal cord causing my hands to go numb and tingling, etc. I’ve done some looking around the web for sites with research results of bone fusion vs. ADR and I’m not finding what I’m looking for. My question is: Is ADR a better choice vs bone fusion for lower adjacent discs that fail? I’ve read plenty of favorable *opinions* about ADR and the theory of mobility vs rigidity for adjacent discs seems plausible and makes good sense, but the research I’ve seen is inconclusive in its efficacy. However, in my case where a disc above is already fused, it just seems like it would be a no-brainer to get a moveable joint to stop a “zipper effect” from happening where one disc after another fail.

My doc thinks an ADR would be a good choice, but he also said fusion would be a good alternative too, since insurance companies aren’t on board for this procedure yet. I’d also like to learn if ADR is worth the fight with the insurance companies, which might mean delaying surgery.

Thanks for listening and all your help.


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,270
    ..you are going through.

    I have no experience with surgery...but wanted to welcome you. The "search" on this site may lead you to some former posts that may be useful to you.

    I do know what you mean about the loss of friends. I too am on disability, but even before that..all the pain and related issues..I was withdrawing. Life moves so fast sometimes and I can't keep up.

    Also, people don't understand. Heck, if I wasn't living it, I'm not sure I would believe me either.
    Everyone tries to fix me and can't believe there isn't a fix for me.

    This site is great. Many people who live it and share your experiences.

    Hang in there and keep in touch!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • I would have loved to have an ADR. I had 2 level fusion 5-6 6-7. You may want to see if there are any OSS who are doing trials on ADR. They way you can have it done here. My OSS was doing trials, but didn't feel I was a candidate due to my sever arthritis and DDD. I have already informed him that if I need another level I want an ADR. He just smiled and humored me. I have known my OSS for 6 years and we have a great relationship. You need to find either an OSS or NS that you can explain what you want and hopefully they can help you locate a trial. Good Luck.
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