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Anyone had a lumbar disc implant? What were the circumstances - do you like it?

Hi. I'm wondering if anyone who had a disc replacement would comment on their road to that decision and if they are doing well with it? Which did you get? How was the recovery period? My surgeon didn't even want to talk about one with me but I've read good things about them and may need another surgery in the future. Thank you.


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    Hi Lynn....
    Im curious why your surgeon doesn't want to discuss it?
    And as you mention surgeon....would you mind to say what kind of surgery you had?..and when?

    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • L4-L5 bilateral microdiscectomy May 9th '16. The surgeon made it seem like an implant was a severe option that I didn't want or not something he endorsed when I brought it up briefly.  I'll ask him for more clarity when I see him in a few weeks. Most of me is just happy I can walk now. He is very accomplished and teaches at a major university hospital - so I assume he has an informed reason. Will share why he didn't recommend it for me.
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  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 451
    Where are you finding posts about artificial disc replacements?  Because I've been looking, cant find any on this forum  :/ I had discectomy Dec 2014 but re-herniated Nov 2015. I've had consult with spine specialist who recommended ADR, trying to do some research on success rates, lifespan of implants, etc.  
  • DeanHobbbsDDeanHobbbs PeterboroughPosts: 5

    Where are you finding posts about artificial disc replacements?  Because I've been looking, cant find any on this forum  :/ I had discectomy Dec 2014 but re-herniated Nov 2015. I've had consult with spine specialist who recommended ADR, trying to do some research on success rates, lifespan of implants, etc.  

    I'm in a similar situation to you - had a L4/L5 micro disectomy then a revision but recent scan has showed its still prolapsed. I'm not getting any leg pain but for the last few months I have been leaning heavily to the left and started to get worst pain ever in my hip. Consultant believed my SI joint to be affected and got a weeks pain relief after an injection. Pain is back and I'm leaning again - consultant says he will give me another one but for the prolapsed disc I will need a fusion. Ive never wanted a fusion but the pain I have is 9/10 at its worst.

    My physio is telling me to avoid a fusion at all costs. Says it can cause more problems than it fixes.  it's really hard when you get 2 contradicting professional views. I did wonder whether replacing the disc is a better option

    Really don't know what to do for the best. :unamused:" alt=":unamused:" height="20" /> 
  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 451
    On my first herniation (L5-S1), I consulted 3 surgeons:  neurosurgeon who recommended a discectomy, an orthopedic surgeon who recommended fusion, saying discectomy would not have lasting results because of where it is located and severity, and a German spine specialist who recommended artificial disc replacement.  I'm in Canada, so the first 2 options are covered by Medicare, no cost to me.  The disc replacement would have been my choice, were it not for the price-tag of $48,000 to have it done in Germany.  It is not offered here in Canada, to my knowledge.  Since I've re-herniated, I am seriously considering the ADR, especially as the surgery is done through the front, it's just a big financial hurdle for me.  But it seems to me the best option.  Keep in mind, a specialty surgeon will only talk about the options THEY can help you with.  And then it is up to us uneducated folks to decide which surgeon knows best :/
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  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 971

    Guys.... try a search on the word  "CoFlex"  there are lots of posts on this type ADR on the forum going back several years.

    Dean... I think you should listen to your doctor rather than your physio.  Fusions are not an easy road but they are the oldest, most common, and most successful long lasting means of correciting back problems.  A lot of other "fixes" like you've found out tend to be short term... 

    Harry - 65 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • LizLiz Posts: 9,765

    where are you finding posts about artificial disc replacements?  because i've been looking, cant find any on this forum  :/ i had discectomy dec 2014 but re-herniated nov 2015. i've had consult with spine specialist who recommended adr, trying to do some research on success rates, lifespan of implants, etc.  

    here are some links that might help..
    artificial disc replacement or spinal fusion: which is better for you?
    artificial disc replacement health center

    if you use the search box at the top of the page you will find more..just type in key words


    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 451
    thanks Liz

  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 2,561
    There is always going to be trade offs between a fusion and a replacement.  There is tons of information on the replacement , many forums dedicated to just that with amazing 3 level replacements overseas.  But with lumbar the issue is revision surgury , if they have to remove the replacement depending on type and what will be done it can become a life threatening surgury in wrong hands.  The cervical spine has a lot more success with replacements and it's much easier to revise and fuse if needed.  Always get all sides even with a great doctor, both pros and cons to each , because you live with the outcome not the dr
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
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