Wednesday I had a discectomy on c5-6 using a Bak cage. |My shoulder pain is gone and I have just moderate muscle pain. I'm wearing a soft collar by choice. He said I didn't really need to wear it. He said I can drive in 2 weeks and should feel totally back to normal in 6 weeks. He said at the 4 month period I could even go bungee jumping if that was what I wanted to do. The doctor was fantastic. He is Dr. Edward Hellman in Albany,Georgia. I drove 240 miles to have him do the surgery. He uses the BAK cage with only a 1 inch incision. He's done over 400 surgeries using this method. So far so good.
The BAK cage is used instead of autograft or allograft. The titanium cage that was used on me required no bone at all. The spine will fuse by itself together through top and bottom of the cage to meet and fuse in the middle.
The fusion rate or success rate is 10% greater than the traditional acdf. The surgery takesabout 45 minutes. I stayed in the hospital 1 night. Dr. Hellman is at the Southwest Georgia Regional Spine Center in Albany, Georgia
Last edited by moderator2; 04-15-2005 at 07:06 PM.
So what your are really saying is you had a fusion at C5-6 not just a discectomy correct? I am surprised they didn't put any bone in the BAK cages?? When I had my lumbar done with BAK cages at 2 levels for a total of 4 cages they did put bone from my hip in the cages. I didn't know they do it without.
Holy Cow your doctor said you can go bungee jumping. Sorry but I sure wouldn't risk doing that ever! I honestly don't think that is something you should even consider ever once you already have cervical problems.
BTW... what happened to you that lead you to have this fusion.
I have both lumbar and cervical problems and will be having my 7th spine surgery in May. To this point I have had 3 lumbar (May will be my 4th) and I also have had 2 anterior cervical and 1 posterior for which I am now fuesd from C3-7.
I am totally surprised with your post. But then again what do I know other then what I went through and I was never injuries or bungee jumped. I sure would love to talk with your doctor.
Edit for spelling
1980- Transaxillary resection of 1st rib and division of band (left side)
1982- Diagnostic Laparoscopy
1985- Transaxillary excision of cervical rib (right side)
1991- Laser stapedectomy (right side)
1992- Fractional D&C
1992- Diagnostic Laparoscopy
1996- Lumbar hemilaminectomy
1999- Left knee arthoscopic surgery
2001- Laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy
2002- L5-S1 Microdiscectomy
2002- L4-L5, L5-S1 Anterior inter-body lumbar fusion with cages and my own bone from left hip for bone graft
2002- Neck problems Surgery??????
2002 DEC 21- C4-5, C5-C6 Anterior Cervical Corpectomy with Fusion and Internal Fixation (Bone from the bone bank)
thanks for the info us2,
it sounds like something one surgeon described to me - he said that they use a cage filled with 'artificial bone' (his words) - maybe there was some material put into the cage instead of auto/allograft. I've heard of the cages filled with cartilage and bone fragments, but not with no bone at all.
I've met one guy that I think has had this as well - he said he had a titanium cage at c3/c4. He said he still had some pain etc. and it wasn't perfect (he put my hands on his neck where it was and I could feel it clunking around as he moved his neck) but he had a pretty bad car accident that caused his initial problems so any solution would probably have similar results.
He wasn't bunjee jumping, but I've met him a few times and I've seen him going wakeboarding, go-carting and surfing (in decent sized surf too). He did say it was a bit painful surfing because of the prolonged neck extension etc.
He works as a roofer as well - bent over putting nails in with a nail gun all day ...
just remembered I took some notes at the appt.
He uses a spacer called a cervios spacer, found this description on the web:
The (cervios) Vertebral Spacer-CR is a radiolucent cage system made out of PEEK Optima designed for use in interbody procedures from C3 through C7. The spacer has a trapezoidal footprint which is 12 mm AP x 15 mm ML, the heights vary from 5 mm through 12 mm. The Vertebral Spacer-CR is available in three different sagittal profiles: convex, lordotic, and parallel. A central canal for autograft or osteoconductive, and maybe in future osteoinductive, materials allows fusion to occur through the implant. The teeth on the surface minimize migration.
I also found some info about cervios pre-filled with chronOS which is described as:
ChronOS is a synthetic cancellous bone graft substitute, which remodels into bone, is easy to use and has a clinical track record of twenty years. Its synthetic origin provides unsurpassed safety.
ChronOS consists of pure beta-tricalcium phosphate and has an excellent in vivo behavior. Its strength is similar to that of cancellous bone (7.5 ± 1 MPa), and its scaffold provides an ideal structure for osteoconductivity. It is gradually resorbed and replaced by new bone, this remodelling process takes 6-18 months. Chronos can be used in all spinal applications instead of cancellous bone graft: postero-lateral fusion, interbody fusion (as cage filling material), vertebrectomies (as filling material for vertebral implants).
After looking around, there seem to be a lot of different types of these vertebral spacers on the market.