Re: Test results are back
Sorry, but it does sound like you may be heading into more surgery. Of course, what type will depend on bad your herniations are and what the doc will recommend. A few things you might want to research and be able to speak with the doctor about.
First, you say you're being referred to a spine surgeon. Whether ortho or neuro, I do highly recommend that the surgeon be a spine specialist. Lots of ortho and neuro's will do spine surgery, but evidently you are like me and have multiple problems with the spine. My ortho surgeon does nothing but spines and if it weren't for him I probably would not be walking after a 10 level fusion in Dec.
Second, fusion is one possibility, especially as you have already had a fusion. Previously, ADR's were not done on people who already had a fusion, but that has recently changed. I would speculate that not all spine surgeons have yet been totally trained and done enough of these unless they are spine specialist. I did have hopes that this would work for me, but I was already fused L1-S2 in previous surgeries and I didn't qualify because my other support systems of tendons, ligaments, etc were not in good enough shape. I'm 59 and have other health problems which have affected my spine, so I understood. However, you are much younger and you should read up on these and ask about them if fusion is the proposed surgery.
If fusion is the option that would be best for you, ask if the surgeon plans on using BMP2 (Bone Morphogenic Protein 2nd version). They do not have to take bone for the hip with this (that hurts worse than the rest of the surgery), and it is stronger than our bone alone. Different surgeons have various methods and hardware they use. My 3rd fusion of 3 levels (due to break in wreck) hardware that would be removed later was not needed. When there is 3 or more levels once we become more active, our muscles rub over the screws and per my surgeon, most people request the hardware be removed at about a years time. I went 17 months before I gave in.
There are various style of cages used and sometimes the type depends on which side of the spine needs to be fused. BMP can cause additional problems IF it gets into areas it should not. For that reason, my first BMP surgery was done anteriorly so that the cage was on the front of the spine and if any seeped out, it would be in the body cavity and not on any nerves or muscles. Now, with BMP2, my doc had additional training and used a scope for placing the BMP, insuring it didn't get into areas it should not.
The advantage of BMP, besides being stronger is that you fuse in 1/2 the time as with just bone.
Sorry if this is repeat of what you know, as you have had a fusion.
Now, I don't know a lot about ADR's except what I've researched, but have spoken with several patients who had them. Have not heard any complaints and they still retained their flexibility which if they had as many levels as I have, of course flexibility is definitely lost. Besides, with ADR's your spines spacing remains good and I don't believe you would be as likely for additional levels to collapse as was my case.
I hope your options are not as dramatic, but hope you can get your questions written up so when you see the surgeon you can ask what you want to know and have time to think things through. Finally, if you can through your insurance, recommend you seek another independent opinion from another spine specialist.
Best wishes and hope you will let us know how you are doing.