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Pro Disc C removal

After fighting neck pain with all kinds of therapies (chiropractic,massage,physical therapy,injections)for over a year I had an artificial disc installed in December of 2015. This was after extensive talks with my surgeon and a bunch of research, and the desire to retain as much mobility as possible. My pre op MRI showed spinal chord indention at c6c7. I also had an old injury at c5c6 (it fused itself long ago)that was probably 25 years old but have had zero neck pain up until recently. I'm a 35 year old male with an extremely active lifestyle with the family, an extremely physical job and a love for fitness. Anyways, I had the surgery, and from the moment I woke up I never had the feeling it was fixed. The good part that came out of it is my terrible headaches are gone for the most part. I figured this is due to the chord not being compressed any more. As for the chronic burning, stabbing pain it's still there. It feels like there's a knife in my neck and the pain starts there and radiates into my shoulders, traps and sometimes I get a numb sensation in my upper arms. I was sent to physical therapy 3 months out..no help. I also went to a pain management massage clinic...no help. I was told to get back to working out and it may straighten out....it didnt help. This pain is constant and doesn't dissipate. Fast forward to last week...I went to see the surgeon who installed the device and he acts like he wants to pull it out and fuse it, but didn't explain exactly what's going on, (he wants a ct scan)I also got a 2nd opinion from a dr that took new X-rays that day and says it looks like the disc is allowing too much movement and wants to do facet joint injections and the nerve ablation if he's correct. He believes the facet joints are damaged and the movement from the disc is causing them to be irritated. This seems completely plausible after he explained it.   Has any one expericienced similar problems and how have you resolved them? I am stil confident in my surgeon and honestly believe it just didn't work out and I should've just fused to begin with. I have researched th rfa procedure and I'm truthfully not interested in temporary relief. I want a "permanent fix" and not a band aid or temporary relief. 


  • hello, gmann!

    i can understand your desire not to put "band-aids" on the problem.  i'm sorry that the first procedure didn't work out the way you'd hoped. 

    i'm going to give a shout out to @bruce%20eitman  he is familiar with the cervical spinal fusion procedure, and would no doubt be able to offer more valuable input that me (lumbar fusion, here!).

    i'd like to welcome you to spine-health!  please click on the following link for some helpful information to get you started!

    welcome to spine-health
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • gmanngmann Ohio Posts: 10
    Thanks! I'm more or less just trying to find someone that may have had this procedure reversed and then fused to see what I'm in for! Surgery was no fun the first time and I really just want to be fixed and done this time around so I can get back to living! 
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  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,510
    edited 10/03/2016 - 3:25 PM

    it is good to see a fellow buckeye (in the state of ohio sense) here.  on the other hand, i hate that you are going through this.

    you might want to read bruce - my story.  while i haven't had adr, i did find myself still in pain after my first surgery and set out to find the reason.  my surgeon also wanted me to get a cat scan, and it was a good thing because we learned something from it.

    one thing to consider is that the healing process takes months.  my second surgery was in oct, and while i consider that i have healed, it will still be a while before all of my nerves finish healing, if they do completely.  i point this out because it could be that your nerves are still just irritated from the big stretch that occurred during surgery.

    i can tell you that i am not disappointed with my fusions.  i am pleased to be moving forward now.


    Read my story at Bruce - My Story
    ACDF C4-C5-C6-C7, and getting better every day
    It has been a process of healing, learning, exercising, and resting - and figuring out when to do which.

  • gmanngmann Ohio Posts: 10
    Thanks for your input Bruce, I really appreciate it. I read your story and man I feel for ya! The trouble for me is I'm going on 10 months and feel exactly the same as I did at 10 hours post surgery. They had me  try Lyrica as well, which I got nothing out of other than maybe a little depression. Surgeon 1 who did my adr wants to pull it out, he almost acts like he wishes we would've fused it (he won't outright admit it of course) but still reminds me that we wanted to try and maintain my mobility. He has said a few times "do you just want to remove it?" I told him I am at about30-40% better than before surgery, and he insists we will have success. He wants a new ct. My 2nd opinion wants to leave it alone and rfa it, which I have zero interest in for the fact it's temporary. I refuse to go through that every 1-2 years...no way. The 2nd opinion came to the conclusion that there is ligament damage, thus allowing way too much movement, and I probably have facet joints that are  bone on bone. (2nd opinion took X-rays) He said due to my symptoms he almost bets its facet joints causing the issue. I had an emg as well which showed no damage. 2nd opinion agreed that had I gotten a fusion I probably wouldn't be in pain. You think your doing the right thing getting the disc, you hear all the hype and your insurance agrees to it, only to have mediocre results. At least the migraines are gone, but I'd say that was due to the chord decompression when he got the bad disc out. I tell my self every day it could be worse, but it's still tough when your kids (8 and 10) want to play, and run around , and climb on dad, but you constantly have to tell them no or fight the terrible pain. 
  • HI Gmann, All I can add to this is I am in basically the same situation. I had a Mobi-C Disc Replacement at C6/C7 in December 2015, Although I did have some temporary relief after surgery which lasted a couple of months...It has been progressing downhill since around mid March or so...My Surgeon has suggested I get it removed and just fuse it, but like you I want to know what the issue is and since MRI's are not much help anymore it makes the decision much more difficult. I have an appointment with a second Doctor next week and will see what he says.

    Have you had the CT scan? My Dr seems to think it will not show too much...but there is no other way to get some idea as to what is happening.. I will have to look into the facet joint thing, I have not heard that one yet..

    Def keep me posted on what you decide to do as I will have to make a similar decision soon.. I will let you know if I make a decision. 
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  • gmanngmann Ohio Posts: 10
    My surgery was in December of 15, and my first ct after surgery was in March. I think the X-rays showed more answers for the fact that they had me hold my neck in different positions while they took them which gave the dr some insight of the movement.....and the ct scan just had me lay flat and keep still. I will absolutely keep you posted! 
  • gmanngmann Ohio Posts: 10
    edited 10/04/2016 - 4:58 AM
    Stinkfist, if you don't mind me asking, where is your pain? What is going on with your neck since having Your disc installed? Mine feels like a knife stuck in my neck, and it radiates out from there. My neck, upper back and traps are horrible. It's just there all the time, with nothing I've tried providing much relief. PT, pain massage therapy, Lyrica, stretching and more stretching and working out...all failed. 

  • My Pain is nearly back to the point before I had the surgery, I have pain and numbness in my left pinky and ring finger, I also have significant pain in the left side of my chest and down my left arm. I also have pain and numbness in my left foot. I do have some neck pain but it is over powered by my other issues. I am currently taking gabapentin and Norco which after my latest gabapentin increase has had some effect and can make it through most of the day without too much pain, But I got the surgery so I did not need to be on this many meds for the rest of my life. 
  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 941
    gmann -  If you have significant facet joint damage, you might need to go the fusion route.

    I had a ripped facet joint at C3/C4.  The soft part of the joint was totally gone and I had bone on bone pain.  I had wanted a Pro Disc C replacement, but my neurosurgeon determined via a Bone Scan that I was NOT a candidate so I had a carbon fiber implant/fusion.  
  • gmanngmann Ohio Posts: 10
    That's what I'm thinking is going to happen..i am highly disappointed that the disc didn't work but I do like my surgeon and truly believe he wants what's best. 
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