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Pro Disc L Procedure Complications/Recovery/Outcomes

cabledeluzcabledeluz McChord Air Force Base, WashingtonPosts: 1
I'm a husband of 14 years and father of three children (8,10,12 years old). My wife and I have always been active and love being outdoors with hiking, running, jogging, biking etc. I'm an Active Duty Army Nurse who deployed to Iraq in September 2010 for one year. During my deployment I injured my back. The pain was manageable but each year the intensity increased and was uncomfortable. Very noticeable after runs and lifting weights.

About a
year and a half ago my pain was not manageable anymore. In August 2014 I saw my primary care manager (PCM) about my back pain and she ordered an X-ray which obviously didn't show anything but she didn't give me anything for the pain either . I dealt with the pain for a few more months until November and she finally gave me a referral to see a physical therapist. That just made my pain worse! I did that for a few months but it was more like I was torturing myself. I thought I just needed to push through the pain. The medical system can be flawed at times in the military! I unfortunately became a number in the system and instead of trying to help manage my pain, medical personnel started to help me with my behavioral health complications with the deployment. I didn't understand why I wasn't being help with my back pain in conjunction with receiving treatment from Behavioral Health. My pain gradually got worse each week even to the point that I went to the ER three times. I finally got an MRI scheduled at the end of March 6 weeks out. It took another 4 weeks to get the results read from my PCM, This was June of 2015. I have four bulging discs, L4-L5 and L5-S1 are more severe and pressing against a nerve which was causing my shooting pain that I was dealing with for about 3-4 months as well. Mind you, I never received any pain meds during this time. At the time that I received my MRI results my PCM said, oh you have 4 bulging discs. But she was so surprised to actually have found something. I almost cried, I had been treated so poorly and thought that maybe all of this pain is just in my head. My treatment at the ER was also reprehensible. So I will fast forward to now, I've had 2 epidurals with steroid injections, RFA (Radio Frequency Ablation), trigger point injections and none of it relieved pain. I've had a TENS unit that I used for abut once I was done using it for 30 minutes I would get shooting pain through out my body. I stopped that immediately! My neurosurgeon wants to give me a fusion. I can still walk. I have been given opioids to manage my pain. It does manage my pain but I'm lethargic, I'm constipated, I can't drive anywhere. It dictates everything I do which sucks. I've gained 35lbs in one year. It's been very depressing!

So my wife and I have been researching different interventions that I could discuss with my neurosurgeon and my wife ran
across this Pro Disc L. I am asking anyone that has had the procedure
about any complications and outcomes with their procedure. Or does anyone suggest another type of procedure that has helped them or a family member? I am willing to look into anything. I appreciate
your time in reading this and responding.



  • LizLiz Posts: 9,745
    hello cabledeluz

    please click on the link for useful information


    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • The use of adr (artificial disc replacement), particularly at the L5-S1 level has not had great long term outcomes.  The L5-S1 area of the spine does not have the flexion, extension, rotation that other areas of the lumbar spine does, and inserting a adr at that level, far too often results in facet joint issues and revision to fusion.
    Removal of the disc is dangerous because of the major blood vessels that lie in front of the spine , and the keel of the adr makes removal extremely complex, so they usually wind up fusing instead.
    I looked heavily into adr at the beginning of my own spine issues, and have followed it pretty heavily since.  

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    • I am an active 34 yo male, father of 3. I am currently recovering from surgery on 07/26/2016 in which the prodisc 1-L was implanted at L5-S1. My disc was herniated in an injury I sustained in the military almost exactly 10 years ago. Over the years, I had cortisone injections and epidurals, which started off effective, and worked less and less over time. In May, 2014, I had a microdiscectomy. the surgery had me virtually pain free for about 8 months. then I began getting pain again, but no sciatica, as the microdiscectomy fixed that. All the pain was in my low back. At that point, I started the injections and chiropractic again to no avail. I even had RF ablasions, which were ineffective for the most part. That's how I got to the disc replacement surgery. Right now I am on day 6 of my recovery, and I feel good. My pain is pretty much limited to the incision in my belly. For me, the surgery was worth it, but everyone has different issues when it comes to the complex world of low back pain.
  • Hi,
    I had this procedure done at l5-s1 in 2003 under the experimental stage. I have had great results and no complications thus far. I get some pain and stiffness which I associate with arthritis in that area of my spine but I have been able to retrain from driving commercial vehicles to being a physical therapist assistant and I work full time now without to many issues. I see clients that have fusions or micro surgeries all the time with variable results but it seems like for the most part they are repeat visitors with new issues or issues with other discs above the surgery site. Again this is my opinion. I truly wish that this procedure was standard of care. I can only give you my opinion from my outcome. Prior to the disc replacement surgery I did have a lamenectomy which actually increased my symptoms and made my life unbearable. After the disc replacement I have returned to most of my normal activities. I no longer take risks like riding horses because I am afraid to have another injury but I did take a good fall from a horse a few years back and the disc held up great. After that fall I decided the risk outwayed the benefit so decided I no longer wanted to ride horses but that again was just a personal choice to stay healthy. I had the surgery at age 33 and and now 46. From my experience I would highly recommend this to anyone who can get there insurance to pay for it. That's the tough part is getting it covered since the procedure is still newer they tend to want to go with the old stuff. Makes no sense to me since it appears there is more cost and more follow ups and procedures down the road vs myself which with regular massage therapy and good health keeping weight down etc I have not had to have anymore treatment in regards to my back since. Anyways I hope this helps. I do know that they can only do two levels so hopefully all three levels of your spine are not compromised and if they fix the two that are the worse the third with GOOD therapy can resolve itself. I only recieved one level but have another bulging disc at l4-l5 that was not causing symptoms and so far it hasn't needed any follow up care either. Again I hope this helps. I suffered for 7 years prior to getting results so I know what your going through.
    Feel free to ask questions
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