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Disc Replacement vs ACDF?

TenThumbsTTenThumbs Posts: 2
edited 10/19/2012 - 7:08 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello, I am attempting to research all I can and stumbled onto this site (I wish I had found it sooner). My auto accident was a little over one year ago. In the accident, my right rotator cuff was torn and I have a c3-c4 3mm herniation mainly on the right as well. Shoulder surgery took place 10 months ago and has healed nicely. I had 3 esi 2 weeks apart, the last one being in June of this year to treat the herniation. The first two injections did nothing to stop my neck, head, shoulder, or jaw pain but the third stopped all pain except for the flare ups of burning pain at the base of my skull and the everyday headaches. Dr. sent me to PT and chiropractor 2 months ago. First day of adjustment by the chiropractor and I regressed back to everything hurting. In pain, I believed them when they said that my symptoms were to be expected (a warning beforehand would have been nice). Back at the Doc now and he is recommending and says that I am a perfect candidate for ProDisc-C Total Disc Replacement. I am a 37 year old male that is, well was highly athletic and always on the go. Any pros or cons to this surgery versus ACDF? I have read that the fusion is strong once it heals. Is this also true for replacement. Has this wreck ruined my life? So many questions. Any advice or shared information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance


  • Sorry to hear about your accident and all the pain you have been dealing with. I cringed when I read about you going to a chiropractor and how you went back to the start pain wise.

    Please try to get multiple opinions from fellowship trained ortho or neurosurgeons before you commit to surgery.
    I don't think we have many members who have had a cervical adr put in. There are many that have had acdf. I had adr surgery but it was lumbar. Unfortunately it did not improve things for me, but that is just me. There is another forum that deals with adr,pm me if you would like link. Spine health is full of wonderful members that can relate.

    Wishing you all the best. Please keep us up to date on how you are doing.
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012

  • I am sorry to hear how this accident has left you too.
    I hope that visiting a chiropractor will be ok with your neck herniations.
    I have discs herniations in my neck and have been told not to let a chiropractor touch me. I would say though that my cord is being compressed and I have problems at almost all levels of my neck.

    I did use a chiropractor for my lumbar spine and remember after my first visit I had very severe pain, much worse than before the adjustment. He had warned me that I would feel like that, and I believe it is normal. After that I didn't suffer that pain again. I had over 50 visits, and did think it was helping. In the end though, it was the chiropractor who said that he would sstill treat me, but would understand if I wanted to stop going to him as he didn't think he would be able to get me pain free. I had a grade 2 spondylolisthesis and ended up having a decompression with fusion.

    I am now hving problems in my neck and will be having a 2 level ACDF on 5th November. I have not been offered a disc replacement.
    My problems are at C3/4 and C4/5 and I have those awful headaches. They seem to start during the night and sometimes are terrible and throbbing. I am hopeful that my neck fusion will help them, but my surgeon has warned me that I may still have them. He says we can try Steroid injections if I am left with them. He has also warned me that he may need to do another surgery from the back later. I think that will be to deal with the rest of my neck where I have nerve root compression bilaterally throughout my neck.

    Welcome! You will find this a great place to learn about your spine problems and meet lots of very friendly people who understand this life of living with spine problems.
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  • TenThumbsTTenThumbs Posts: 2
    edited 10/20/2012 - 7:11 AM
    Thank you both for the welcome. Strangely, it is comforting to know that their are similar cases out there willing to share their stories and give advice. People who know what you are going through. This is all new territory for me as this is my first real in jury. After seeing the chiropractor for a little over 1 month and not seeing any improvement, I gave up on them. The massages helped combat the pain reaching my traps and arm, but it was only temporary relief. I woke up one day and felt ok. Decided to go ahead and go to the appointment. The adjustment hurt and I flared up that evening. That was my last visit. I am in the process now of looking at different surgeons online. Reading what others have to say about them, etc. I will definitely be getting at least a second opinion before letting them cut on me. Also, I would love a link to the adr forums and will send the pm.
  • A sports medicine friend pointed out there may be less stress transferred to adjoining joints using TDR.  I asked my neurosurgeon why he recommended ACDF over TDR for my upcoming C5/6 and C4/5 surgery.  He gently explained that at age 60 I am too old for the TDR.  Because bone spurs are a primary issue for me, he said all the scraping away of extraneous bone damages the joint to the point that the TDR will not function well. Statistically, further surgery for my type of case is needed in 10% of cases at 5 years, and 30% of cases at 10 years.  Our old bodies require more maintenance - like a vintage car!
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