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Is Artificial Disc Relacement An Alternative To Fusion?

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Old 03-25-2005, 12:47 PM   #1
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Location: uk
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TraceyH HB User
Question Is Artificial Disc replacement an alternative to fusion?

Thanks to those who answered my question about fusion.I live in the UK and was wondering if artificial disc replacemnt is a good alternative to fusion?has anyone has ad ADR?what are the results,would you recommend it.Been reading on the net the success rate is higher than fusion and puts lest strain on the disc above.Please help with your opinions,I Have DDD L5/S1 severe back pain aan dpain in right leg......please help!!!!thank you.Tracey

Last edited by TraceyH; 03-27-2005 at 05:11 PM.

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Old 03-25-2005, 03:23 PM   #2
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Caz72 HB User
Re: Is Artificial Disc Relacement An Alternative To Fusion?

Hi Tracey. I am hopefully about to get the ADR. I have met with 3 different reputable doctors here in NJ/NY. They all tell me the disc is better than the fusion for the simple fact that recovery time is much faster (2-6 weeks instead of 4 months). It also doesn't add stress to the adjacent levels like the fusion does. The success rates appear to be about the same as the fusion according to them. This is apparently because the 2 surgeries approach are very similar. They are both anterior (from the front), but instead of putting the bone cage in, the surgeon puts the artificial disc in. Thats the dumbed down version, I'm sure, but the risks for the 2 surgeries are pretty much the same.

Now, with fusion, you always run the risk of the bone not fusing properly, but with the ADR, there is risk of it slipping. In which case, you would get the fusion anyway. So basically, I feel the ADR will be the Gold standard in a few years and I don't see any reason to choose the fusion of over the disc (FOR ME). Each person is different though, and not everyone is an ideal candidate for the ADR. The best thing to do is talk to your doctor about it and find out if he/she thinks you would do well with the disc. There are a lot of little things that can make you a higher risk (overweight, disc level, attitude, problems at other levels). In the perfect scenario where they are both an option, I would personally choose the ADR every time. Then again, I didn't get it yet, so I may eat those words, but I hope not.

Now, the problem I'm having is getting insurance to pay for it. They still consider the ADR an experimental surgery, despite FDA approval. They push the fusion and there's no telling when they will change their stance on this.

Just my two cents.


Old 03-25-2005, 09:14 PM   #3
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Quietcook HB UserQuietcook HB User
Re: Is Artificial Disc Relacement An Alternative To Fusion?

Hi again,

I had spoken with patients who had them and they were extremely happy. It gave me hopes as I already had two three level fusions and knew they were testing the ADR with fusions, which had not been done previously. However, there are other factors such as general health, health of muscles, tendons, etc. I'm older and not in great health so it wasn't an option.

If I did not have a fusion and was younger, you can bet that I would certainly discuss the pro's and con's of an ADR versus fusion with any doctor I saw regarding my back. Also, I would want a spine specialist to be the one doing an ADR, if I were able to have it versus a fusion.

Let us know if this becomes an option for you and what you decide.

Old 03-26-2005, 01:21 AM   #4
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TraceyH HB User
Re: Is Artificial Disc Relacement An Alternative To Fusion?

Thank you both for your replys,seeing my spinal surgeon soon,just waiting for the appointment,to discuss with him more,i will let you know the outcome.

Old 03-26-2005, 01:56 PM   #5
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TraceyH HB User
Re: Is Artificial Disc Relacement An Alternative To Fusion?

Hi Lisamay,
Thanx so much for the helpful reply,got to wait till June 13 to see the spine surgeon,the letter came today,hes very good,hope he does ADR, Ireally dont want fusion,but my back pain is terrible,i dread waking in the mornings...the pain is so bad,thanks again,Tracey.

Old 03-26-2005, 03:21 PM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Griz054 HB User
Re: Is Artificial Disc Relacement An Alternative To Fusion?

I looked into it but so far in the U.S., ADR is limited to one level only. I had major problems with both L4/L5 and L5/S1 so it wasn't an option for me. I had a fusion on 2/4/05. I'm pretty sure that a few years down the road, L3/L4 is going to start causing me problems at which time, I plan on using an ADR. Good luck to you!

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