I am interested in hearing about experiences with Prodisc. I am particularly initerested in hearing from people who have herniated/bulging discs with tears and with chemical sciatica (sciatica caused by fluid leaking out of the disc and irritating the nerves).
If you had this surgery, what were the pros vs. cons you conisidered? How is your recovery coming along? What activities are you able to do compared with pre-surgery? What have you heard about long-term results (my doc said there's a possibility of it breaking or slipping with time???).
If you decided not to have this surgery, what were your reasons?
If you are female and considering having a baby post surgery, has your doctor offered any advice about this (i.e. how long after surgery to wait)?
I have read some info about Prodisc on the internet, but would like to hear about real life experience with it. Any information you have heard about Prodisc is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Thank you very much for your post. I will look into the link you mentioned. I have herniations, bulges, disc tears, and what they call "chemically-induced" sciatica (caused by disc fluid leaking out and irritating the nerves) from an auto accident 1 1/2 years ago. I just had an EMG/nerve conduction test and they have confirmed the nerves in my left leg are not working as "normal", however there is no permanent nerve damage at this time (good news!).
At this point, I have two options (other than pain management which has not worked and docs don't think it will help any more than it has). First option is an endoscopic procedure with laser that seals the tears in discs (unlike IDET, it only targets the tears - does not harm the healthy parts of the disc). This has a 50/50 chance of working - one doctor said it may work for short-term, but he doesn't think it will work long-term. Benefits: it is minimally invasive and offers a chance to feel some relief.
Second option: 2 level ADR (Prodisc). I'm concerned about this because it is not minimally invasive, there is no "gaurantee" that it will help, there are no long-term studies, since I'm young (in my 20's) I've been told there's a chance it will break or slip over time causing me to need replacement or fusion, and there is a 3 year wait time to have babies after the surgery (if I'm not any worse than I am now). This is a huge decision for me and I don't know what to do. It scares me to think about having such a drastic surgery. I want to be better and be able to have babies, too (I never thought I would have to wait so long to do so, either).
What are your symptoms and what has your doctor suggested as options for your treatment?
Last edited by Bethgirlnj; 12-11-2003 at 10:00 AM.
My symptoms are lumbar pain, pain in hips and groin too. Fatigue in backmuscles and can't sit, stand, walk too long.
I have no sciatica.
19 months ago I suffered a fractured L1 in an accident and had a vertical disc herniation @T12-L1. Since then they discvered I also have damage to the L5-S1 disc. It looks like a bulge on MRI and my doctor thinks I have tears in it.
Am currenty waiting for discogram..
They will probably check T12-L1, L4-L5 and 5-S1 then. I pray it's not the T12-L1 that is causing my problems, that is harder to fix (no surgery there).
Treatment options are only surgery according to my doctor, which doesn't make me feel good.. But then, the discogram is yet to be, so maybe he'll change his mind after that.
This laser treatment - can you tell me more?? What's it called? I've heard something about a private doctor in Stockholm who does something with laser (not sure what) but it's supposed to be very new and revolutionery! Might just be hearsay, I have no good source on this. Could you please tell me more?
I am also very scared of surgery. I'm sure ADR is working well on the proper patient (has been done for over 10 years in Europe), I just don't know if that's me. Guess you feel the same?
I'm looking for info everywhere and am trying to sum it all up.
If you have leaking disc and sciatica, have you heard of Enbrel injections? It's an antiinflammatory usually given to reumatic disorders but it also seems to stop the chemically irritating substances that leaks out from the center of your disc.
So if you're only problem is chemically irritated nerves - this could help.
The latest I just heard is that you can use Vibramycin as an indicator to this!
Sounds really strange, since Vibra is a penicillin, but somehow it works.
If you eat a 10 day prescription of Vibra and your backpain gets much better, then it's a sign that you have chemical sciatica (and it has to be a disc that leaks out, not just internal tears. This is because the Vibra goes out in your blood and it will not reach into the disc itself since it lacks bloodsupply).
Every doctor seems to have his/her own opinion about back pain, I've decided to wait until I have the discoresults before I go any further. There´s too many "if´s" right now.
>> I'm just uncomfortable with the potential risks vs. benefits.
Yes, I'm not sure about it either. And as I understand it, it's on trial and not really approved yet?
Also I think that you only benefit from it if you get it at an early stage. This I read in a swedish study, don't know if it's just an idea or actually medically proven.
>> I'm just not comfortable with IDET because there are no long term studies
>>(it's too new) and it harms the healthy tissue in the discs (I just don't feel >>comfortable about that).
Just my thought. I've heard that IDET makes your disc brittle, like if you heat up bad plastic in the micro. So you must be very careful for several months afterwards (?) And anyway might end up with the procedure as a failure..
Ok, almost everything is worth trying before ending up on the surgeons table, but a 50/50 chance doesn't sound good enough to me when it comes to have my disc fried.
>>But, I'm still looking into it because I have not found any other doctor who >>does this procedure and currently, I feel it may be the best option for me to >>try.
Would love to hear more about it when and if you get this treatment! Do you know if there's any research/articles about it online?
>>I wish you all the luck with your discogram. When are you scheduled for it?
Thank you! I am still waiting for the date. My spine clinic has a consultant doctor (a radiologist) who comes in and does this procedure, so he will call me up and inform me about the date and preparations and stuff. I hope he's a bit more organized than the doctors office you described!
Sure wish he'd call soon! I first thought I'd get it done before X-mas/New Year but that was too much to hope for.
I would love to hear how you felt about the discogram? Was it tough and for how long were you in pain? I'm will probably have to sit on a train for 3 hours after, do you think that will be a problem? I know it's impossible to say because everybody is different - but how was it for you?
It's running late back home, I'll check back tomorrow
I had a Prodisc replacement in September (L5-S1) for a herniated disc that was causing me a great deal of pain and am very pleased with the results. I did a lot of research on the internet before making this decision, and determined it was the only procedure that would provide me the quality of life I wanted. Kris is correct in that this procedure has been successfully done in Europe for over 10 years, so they know the devices will last at least that long. However, I am past my childbearing years so that was not a consideration when making my decision.
For me, this was the best decision I could have made. My life is as close to normal as I could hope for, and the only limitations I currently have involve lifting heavy weights. I give it a THUMBS UP. However, you have to consider the hold it will place on any current plans for getting pregnant - but remember it is just a hold and not a ban.
Thanks for your replies. KMartian, I am happy to hear you are having a good recovery from your Prodisc operation. As you know, it's a very weighty decision to make. My docs think my source of pain is from the tears in my discs - I'm currently trying to find out if there are any minimally invasive procedures I can try before seriously entertaining the Prodisc. However, my doc said although a minimally invasive procedure might help in the short term, he doesn't believe it will give me long-term relief. At this point the Prodisc really sounds like the way to go for long-term results, however I think if I can get a minimally invasive surgery so I can feel better for a couple of years so I can have babies and get that out of the way, then afterwards, maybe I'll have the Prodisc. But, with that scenario, I'm a little concerned about relapsing with my pain (and to be quite honest, I'm not sure I'd do well with having a baby with the pain I'm in now - with carrying the fetus and then the baby as it gains weight - especially lifting it in and out of the car seat ). So much to think about.... Did you try other procedures before you decided to have the Prodisc?
KrisL, oh boy - you're planning to sit on a train for 3 hours after your discogram??? In my opinion, that's a lot to ask of yourself after going through this procedure. If there's any way you can get a ride home from someone (preferably where you can lay down in the back seat), I'd recommend doing that. I don't want to scare you - everyone seems to react differently from the discogram. However, when mine was done (3-level discogram), I rode home on a mattress in the back of a Ford Expolorer - that was the best scenario for my transportation home.
The pain was pretty bad the first 1 1/2 days (i.e., couldn't reach past my thighs, very difficult to sit on the toilet, difficult to walk or move - basically similar to after my car accident). On the 2nd day, I was able to walk a little better, reach a little further (slowly). After about 5 days, I was just about feeling like I was before the procedure.
I feel it was definitely worth all of that because it gave my docs so much information - they could see all the tears, and the extent to which the nucleus in both discs has leaked out. I would do it again in a heartbeat - because of the detailed info it provided.
The best recommendation I can offer is to be kind to yourself for the first few days - don't expect to do too much. Good luck and please let me know how it goes!
Has your doc discussed possible options for you if your discogram is reactive?
Last edited by Bethgirlnj; 12-15-2003 at 12:44 PM.
Oops, maybe I'll rethink that trainride.. As you point out, everybody reacts different to the disco, but what if it's hard on me and I'm stuck on a train
Maybe I'm really stupid on this subject, I have not planned to be away from work either, fact is I can't. But as I understand it, if the procedure is painful it can take up to a week to be back 100%?
>>Has your doc discussed possible options for you if your discogram is reactive?
Depending on how it looks he wants to do either a fusion, PDN or a new disc (think it's Prodisc). What determines what - I do not know.
I have searched so much information and I'm starting to feel that you´re doctor's right, small procedures might be good short term only depending on the status of your back.
It seems my doctor has the same attitude. When he calls me about the results of the disco, I will ask him as much as possible..
Did you have fullblown tears = leaking out of the disc? I probably only have tears within the disc (radial tears?).
I realize from your post we have more in common than just our symptoms. I also was planning to go back to work right after the disco (I work from home on the computer). My doc said I'd need one week to feel 100% and I thought I could tough it out and work sooner than that. But I was in for a surprise - I felt more sore than I thought I would after the disco. I had mine on a Tues and didn't work the rest of the week. I was able to work again the following Monday. What day of the week is your disco scheduled? Hopefully mid to late week so you will have the weekend to recover with two "free days" of no time off work if you have a Mon-Fri work week.
For my disco, they tested three discs. Two were reactive and one (the control disc) was non-reactive (I didn't even flinch). The two discs that were reactive have tears from the nucleus all the way to the outside. The nucleus in both discs is not formed anymore - just an irregular blob that spreads all the way to the outer rim of the disc - a lot of it has leaked out of the disc. I also have degeneration of both discs. The CT scan they did after the disco showed the extent of damage to the nucleus and showed all the (multiple) tears in both discs. That's why I am so glad I got the disco because it gave them so much more info to work with (compared to MRI and regular CT scans previously performed).
It's frustrating to see a doc and have them tell me that some people have tears and have no pain from them at all. To that, I say I'm in my 20's and was hit by a car that ran a red light and hit my car door at 55mph. I broke a vertebrea (which is now healed) and now have all this back pain. It's also frustrating they have no quick and easy / non-invasive / "100% sure it will work" procedure to fix this. I'm sure you can relate - we all want to get on with our lives and be active again and just have all this back stuff be a bad memory.
I see my nyc doc for a follow-up appt tomorrow to discuss the results of the EMG/nerve test. I have a bunch of questions to ask him. From reading the posts, Hersheymommy (aka Anne) has the same doctor - she had a one-level prodisc and seems to be recovering nicely. I have some docs in my family (who unfortunately don't specialize in the back) who are urging me to wait a few years if I can live with the quality of life I have now. They think the Prodisc needs to have FDA approval and make sure any bugs are worked out before going ahead with it. I also understand there is some work underway with stem cell research, but I fear that solution is years away and I'm just not sure I want to wait. A part of me just wants to try a minimally invasive procedure to see if it can tide me over until I'm confident enough to go ahead with the Prodisc or something else major that will lend long-term results. And then, I think about - when am I ever going to have babies??? It's very hard when people ask my husband and I if we're going to have a baby - it's all because of me that we can't and everyone knows that. Also, I read one article that said it could take up to 3 years for pain from disc tears to feel better, so I wonder if I should wait to have intervention done. Sometimes this all makes me dizzy in the head.
When is your disco scheduled? Try not to worry too much about it - it will be a few days of discomfort and then you'll be back to feeling how you were before the procedure. No problem!
Have you tried accupuncture or a chiropractor? I haven't tried either one and my docs say they won't help. But, a friend of mine has a sister with disc probs and she tried an accupuncturist and she's feeling some relief.
We DO have a lot in common! Reading your post is like looking at a blueprint of my life
My backproblems also started with a fractured vertebrae (sportsaccident, not MVA) and I was first told that it would be fine. And the vertebrae has healed nice but they forgot about the discs.
I didn't have a big, blobby disc herniation that compressed nerves and therefor no one seemes to care. I was told pain could last for a long time but I had to be patient. Well, it's been 19 months now and I have tried everything within the field of PT.
Yes, have tried acupuncture (no real effect), traction, ultrasound, massage, TENS, and you name it.. Have 3 different PT:s now and one is specialized in doing manipulations of the lumbar back.
Finally got help at one of the countrys best backclinics, they explained the pain that tears within the discs could cause. And it´s here I'm doing the discogram. I am still waiting to be scheduled, I can't believe this radiologist hasn't called me yet! I'll have to check into this.. They only have one consultant doing it so I understand it can be some waiting but it's running on 5 weeks now without even notice.
One week to feel normal again you said? Oops, that's gonna be hard. I have my own company and I simply have to work. That's the downside of business freedom.. Thanks for your supporting words, it's gonna be fine I'm sure.
That babies subject is hard.. People are already nagging on us to be parents before we're too old (31 & 32) and if Prodisc is the solution I'll be at least 34 before I'm allowed to go through pregnancy. Oh well, atleast I'll then have a good reason to tell people to sh-t up about it
Your article said up to 3 years to get better from disc injury? That may very well be, but everybody doesn't get well over time and then you can end up waiting all that time and get others problems developing and STILL not get any better.. There's no way of telling if you or I am the lucky ones..
I read that if you have 18 months or more of discogenic pain, then surgery is really you're only option.
Either way I'm sort of fed up with this, I can't go on like this. If my doctor says surgery is the answer when discoresults have come - then I think I'm ready for it. One side of me says: Are you crazy?! Check everything before getting cut! But the other side says: Do it while you're young and still pretty ok.
Geee, time to get shizofrenic here...
I would like to say I am sorry I did not see your post earlier, and also to say happy holidays to you. I had a single level PRODISC surgery done, on October 9,2003 and I am very happy with the results so far. I am 38 years old, and I thought very long and hard before having the surgery done. I too had to decide on when to have children etc... but for me there wasn't anything I was able to do but to have the surgery done. Before the surgery I tried everything, from PT to chiro, to massage therapist, to having the IDET proceedure done, to having nerve blocks done you name it I tried it. I even lost over 80 pounds thinking that would have helped me, but all of my attempts had failed me. When it was time for me to have the surgery I lost the ability to bend forward, and to bend backwards, and I was also losing nerve function as well. Since the prodisc surgery I am no longer having level 10 pain levels daily, I am now having level 4 which is a huge improvement. Every day is a new improvement, and I know that the surgery is still to new to know what to really to expect. My surgery was done in the states, and I fought big time with WC and I won, and they paid for the surgery and for my lost wages. I will be returning to work in January and I am so looking forward to returning. I am now in PT, and the excersizes that I am doing now, doesn't hurt me at all. What ever decision YOU make depends on what works well for you. Do the research, do lots of it. Learn as much as you can about ADR. Good luck.
I had the prodisc surgery at level L4-5 on October 9,2003. I have L3-4 and L5S1 starting to go bad... but will look into that in the future. Epideral blocks are helping.