Hello, I came here for an honest insight on back surgery. I'm also hoping I can find someone close in age to me to see what their outcome was.
Prior to being rear ended in a massive car accident, I lived a active and happy life. Now due to the extreme amounts of back pain I'm no longer active and honestly I'm very miserable. I lack sleep constantly and I'm struggling to finish an associates degree in radiologic technology this June, I fear I may not even be able to work full time because of the back pain. I'm 25 years old and the accident took place nearly two years ago, I've let it go this long to see if it was really all back related pain. I thought that maybe I just needed time to recover and heal...etc. I've tried chiropractic care and also prolotherapy injections, both lead me no where. I'm hoping to get the disc replacement as soon as I graduate in hopes to use the summer to recover and get my bills squared away before I go unemployed.
My questions are: what type of replacement is the best? What was your recovery like? How long did it take? Complications? I think I've found a decent surgeon but he lacks bed side manner. But due to it being an auto accident, my options are limited on who I can see and choose because they keep sending me denials. The disc injury was not the only injury I had from the accident but it is the most serious and is causing all of my troubles. Please respond if possible.
The only advice I would have for you is to be very sure that the surgeon you are planning on using for disc replacement is very experienced with this particular surgery. Be sure to do your research and learn how many replacements he/she has done, the outcomes, whether there are any lawsuits filed against him, etc.
Disc replacement can be a disaster if there are complications.
Location: San Francisco, California, United States
Re: 25 year old needing l4/l5 disc replacement
I'm a little older than you, had an annular tear with an extruded disc causing mild/moderate central canal stenosis and bilateral foraminal stenosis (no known injury, just woke up that way), at L4-L5. I talked to my very expensive, very congenial orthopedic spinal surgeon who has a flock of fellows following him around, and he advised against an artificial disc replacement for my situation. The short-term results for a one-level ADR have been promising but statistically, he thought not much better than fusion and he indicated there are no long-term studies (at least in the US) for the outcome of artificial discs. You might also consider the risk of needing corrective surgery in the future to fix a failed ADR, but not having the means to pay for it, if your future health insurance does not cover it as a pre-existing condition.
You shared some of your treatments, but you did not mention what your back injury is, except that it is at L4-L5. I realize that your choice of doctor is limited, but did the doctor discuss any other options? Make sure you have a good advocate in your corner, because it sounds like you need one, especially with the insurance company sending you denials.
I am a bit older but still "young" for major back stuff....I was 33 in Aug when I had a fusion. I do think it was the right call for me but I def did try everything else first and knew I could trust my doc. I'm still not 100% but I do think it was the right call....I needed my life back and the pain had taken it (no accident, just degenerative disc).
I'd just warn to be prepared for a long recovery...not sure on replacements but they MEAN it when they say six months on a fusion recovery, even if you are young and fit. I kinda thought it'd be nothing b/c I was in good shape compared to most back patients but it was def still a tough go.