It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board
Post New Thread   Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 01-05-2007, 03:47 PM   #1
Senior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: franklin, tn usa
Posts: 129
bw67 HB User
Non Fusion Option

Happy New Year-

I've been a frequent poster on this board for over 6 months now, it was extremely helpful to me when I needed it pre-surgery, and I have tried my best to continue to come on here and help people make informative decisions about their medical options...

I wanted to make a new post about the choice I made regarding my cervical disc herniations, not so much to convince people it's the best way to go, but to let them know that there are other options that do not involve fusion that MAY help their situation. I think the majority of doctors tell patients that FUSION is their ONLY choice, and that is simply not true in all cases. I chose a non-fusion option back in August, and now nearly 6 months later I am very confident in saying that the procedure worked for me. I am pain free, and I am back to doing anything and everything that I did before the herniations. And, I still have fusion, or disc replacement available as options should anything every regress...let's hope not!!

I had disc herniations at C5-6 and C6-7, with severe pain running down my right arm. No known defined cause. Never in a car wreck, never fell of a roof, etc. More than likely an old sports injury that eventually got worse as the years and POUNDS added on!! Initially I found relief through cervical traction and an epidural now and then. After about one year those methods were exhausted to the point where doctors felt surgery was my only choice for pain relief.

I had 5 different doctors tell me fusion was my only option- much to my disappointment. I am 39- not young, not old- and I have two little boys. I didn't like reading about the "adjacent level theory", where once you have fusion there is the potential to need it at other levels. I also didn't like that once the disc was removed and the vertabrae fused, there was no going back. With medical technology advancing the way it does, and with the potential for artificial disc replacement becoming the norm in the future, I wanted to leave as many options open as possible in the years to come.

I scoured the internet for months looking for any and all other options. There are a handful of doctors/facilities in the country that offer minimally invasive, non-fusion choices. I found a doctor in Lake Worth Florida- Dr. Merrill Reuter, at Advanced Orthopaedics of South Florida- who performs minimally invasive procedures WITHOUT fusion. It did cost $200 to send my MRI's, etc to him for review- with no guarantee that he would be able to help- but in the end it was $$$ extremely well spent.

The procedure, as I understand it, may not work if your pain is a result of BONE SPURS vs. DISC HERNIATIONS. BUT DON'T HOLD ME TO THAT, if you're interested at all, I suggest you look into Dr. Reuter and let them tell you for sure.

I went to Florida, had a discogram done which confirmed that in my case it was the herniations and not spurs that were causing my pain.

They essentially go in endoscopically through the front of the neck- anterior- and remove the nucleus of the discs, which is the part that is leaking, or herniated. My scar is nearly non-existent. There is no way you could tell unless I pointed it out to you. They then laser the tears shut, and inject a gel made of your own platelets to fill the void where the nucleus was. Basically to pump the disc-back up. It was an out patient procedure, although since I was from out of town they had me stay in Florida for a week before letting me come home. Luckily I have family there so that was no problem. And who doesn't mind a trip to Florida?? I was in a semi-hard collar for a few weeks, no driving allowed, which was a pain. And then in a soft collar as needed for a few weeks after that. It took awhile to for the stiffness/soreness in my neck to go away, and it further took a few months for my nerves to heal. But I am no longer on any meds whatsoever, and aside from a random massage, or ice packs now and then if I overdo, I am totally back at it...

Anyhow, I'm hoping you'll see this post, take the time to read it, and factor it into your decision process. In my case, I feel very fortunate and satisfied that I took the time to learn more about this option.

Whatever you decide, I hope you find the comfort and relief from your pain that I have...

Good luck

BW

Last edited by bw67; 01-14-2007 at 08:12 PM.

 
Sponsors Lightbulb
   
Old 01-06-2007, 10:46 AM   #2
Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 411
sunshine221 HB User
Re: Non Fusion Option

BW - Great to hear from you, glad you are doing so well.

I think these days ACDF is the main procedure these NS know. The surgern that did my laminectomy said that its the older procedure, but in my case made more sense - and as others have pointed out, less expensive because no "hardware" is used.

 
Old 01-09-2007, 10:01 AM   #3
Senior Member
(female)
 
Lilacs&Lillies's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 136
Lilacs&Lillies HB User
Re: Non Fusion Option

Hi,

I've already had a cervical fusion, yet still found myself reading with bated breath because what you had is what I wanted... but then mid-way thru, I saw you said it's not for those with bone spurs, which I did have... so at least since I didn't have it, now I know I wasn't a candidate anyway. Thanks for sharing the homework you've done and your experience. I hope you continue to do well. I got good results from my fusion, but every time I have even a little flare, I do start to worry if it's the adjacent level starting up or something.

Best wishes,
L&L

Last edited by Lilacs&Lillies; 01-09-2007 at 10:02 AM.

 
Old 01-09-2007, 04:40 PM   #4
Senior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: island lake, il
Posts: 225
mb100 HB User
Re: Non Fusion Option

Can this be done to an adjacent level to a fusion that has herniated??

 
Old 01-09-2007, 08:07 PM   #5
Senior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: franklin, tn usa
Posts: 129
bw67 HB User
Re: Non Fusion Option

I don't know if it can be done to an adjacent level. In my layman's opinion, I wouldn't know why not, since they go in endoscopically and pinpoint the exact disc in question.

I also don't know with absolute 100% certainty if all candidates with bone spurs are completely ruled out. Maybe I should have left that open for Dr. Reuter and his staff to explain...

In either case, if you have any specific questions, I would recommend you contact Advanced Orthopaedics of South Florida, in Lake Worth, Florida. Let them tell you precisely what they can and can't do.

Good luck

BW

 
Old 01-22-2007, 07:04 PM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Decatur, Alabama
Posts: 23
LisaM HB User
Re: Non Fusion Option

WOW....I needed to hear this! Friday, I found out that c6-7 has ruptured. I've already had 2 ACDF's c4-5 and c5-6. One look at my MRI's and my doctor looked at me and said he didn't want to put anymore hardware in my neck. He offered the nonfusion to me and the incision would be at the back of my neck and to be honest, I'm thinking about it. So, yes, this can be done after the fusions. My doctor stated to me that it was common for the disc under the fusions to become "compromised". I am going to try the epidural injections first. You see, I'm a recovering alcoholic and addict. So, thank god the main problem I have right now is numbness. I have some uncomfortable days but not to the point where I need something. So, you can see why the thought of a less invasive way gives me such hope. Thank you so very much for sharing your experience.
__________________
Lisa

 
Old 01-25-2007, 04:45 AM   #7
Newbie
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 1
QTant34 HB User
Re: Non Fusion Option

BW67--Have you heard of LaserSpinal Institute? I'm scared to death. Please help me. I have had a neck problem for years--c5-6, and last 8 months or so been experiencing problems in my legs--heaviness, stiffness, loss of strength. They want to do fusion. I don't like that idea at all.

 
Old 01-25-2007, 05:11 PM   #8
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 48
Qtant36 HB User
Re: Non Fusion Option

I responded to you earlier today but having problems under that screen name I used-Qtant34, so now I have registered again using the Qtant36 screen name. I would really like to hear back from you on whether or not you have heard of LaserSpine Institute?

 
Old 02-02-2007, 06:27 PM   #9
Junior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 16
TrevaM HB User
Re: Non Fusion Option

Hey, BW!
I posted in general on a new thread, but wanted to ask you specifically...If you were offered the non-fusion with a posterior incision, would you do it, knowing it would involve some longer recovery for the muscles to heal? I keep thinking I should try the non-fusion first, since I have done so well after a non-fusion procedure on L5-S1, but wonder too if I am prolonging the inevitable. Just wish I could wave a magic wand and have the right answer!
Treva

 
Old 02-12-2007, 06:31 PM   #10
Senior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: franklin, tn usa
Posts: 129
bw67 HB User
Re: Non Fusion Option

with new people coming on board every day, I wanted to bump this back to the top, so as many people can factor this into their decision making as possible

bw

 
Old 02-13-2007, 01:34 PM   #11
Newbie
(female)
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: nesquehoning, pa. usa
Posts: 6
mrs hyper HB User
Re: Non Fusion Option

I have herniations in the same disks. i am petrified of the diskogram. the doctor himslef told me how painful it is. i'm a nervous wreck. doctor told me of someone who had paralysis due to either the surgery or diskogram. any way you could help me will be greatly appreciated. i feel like i';m going to have a nervous breakdown over this. i've had pain for 20 years since i passed out and fell on the left side of my body. was always told it was fibromyalgia until mri 6 months ago showed the disk problem. have been to several doctors, some say surgery will not help. dr. yesterday mentioned the diskogram. i cannot even sleep i'm so upset. thanks. he did mention fusion to me also. i don't know who to call or what to do... have beent o pain manageemntt, but shots did not help.

 
Old 02-13-2007, 02:09 PM   #12
SKZ SKZ is offline
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Colorado
Posts: 877
SKZ HB User
Re: Non Fusion Option

I had a discogram and it wasnt bad at all. They put me under "conscious sedation" and I have a very vague memory of them asking me if I felt pain when they did this or that. But nothing was terrible at all. I felt discomfort, but not bad. I ended up getting ACDF C5-C7 on Jan. 10th. I am doing MUCH better now than I was before the surgery.
What kind of Dr. are you seeing to help you tie all of this together? I saw so many I lost count for 5 yrs. I ended up seeing a physiatrist (physical medicine/rehab Dr.) and he tried many things to see if I could get to feeling better. He was really good at tying it all together and getting the full picture. Finally he told me he thought I needed surgery,. and referred me to a orthopedic spinal surgeon. And now I am 5 weeks post op.

 
Old 02-13-2007, 02:52 PM   #13
Senior Member
(male)
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: franklin, tn usa
Posts: 129
bw67 HB User
Re: Non Fusion Option

mrs hyper-

my discogram went fine. they put me under, then brought me to just long enough to determine if the pain in my arm was caused by the herniations, then put me back under.

I was pretty blah the rest of the day, but that was probably due to the sedation. I don't recall being in any pain...

As I understand it, the discogram is one of the best ways for the dr's to determine EXACTLY what is causing the pain. Look at it as a means to an end.

Any procedure dealing with the neck/spine has some risks. For me it was worth it.

It will be SIX MONTHS since my surgery on Feb 17th. It was absolutely worth it to me...

I make this post just to inform people that there are surgical options other than fusion. You have to decide which option is the best for your specific condition.

good luck

bw

 
Old 02-27-2007, 04:23 PM   #14
Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Frisco, TX, USA
Posts: 55
Escgirl HB User
Re: Non Fusion Option

Hi! I too have been to Dr. Merrill Reuter in Lake Worth, FL! the man is genius! He is well worth the time, effort and money. AMEN 100%

Had discectomy Feb. 2003 non fusion and had wicked horrid headaches C4/5 area.... and haven't had ONE headache since the day of the surgery!

Escgirl

 
Old 03-01-2007, 07:41 AM   #15
Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Frisco, TX, USA
Posts: 55
Escgirl HB User
Re: Non Fusion Option

How is everyone doing? Wondering how BW is doing?????

 
Closed Thread

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
MTP Fusion surgery tomorrow - Oct 28, 2009 Northwind Foot & Ankle Problems 20 01-09-2010 02:30 PM
Fusion - MTP joint Northwind Foot & Ankle Problems 1 10-11-2009 11:00 AM
subtalar fusion Carol41 Foot & Ankle Problems 118 11-04-2008 12:42 PM
anyone heard of BIACUPLASTY??? axiaLIF fusion???? apartipilo Back Problems 0 06-12-2008 07:02 AM
foot & ankle fusion questions bevann26 Foot & Ankle Problems 22 03-25-2008 09:34 PM




Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Sign Up Today!

Ask our community of thousands of members your health questions, and learn from others experiences. Join the conversation!

I want my free account

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:39 AM.



Site owned and operated by HealthBoards.comô
Terms of Use © 1998-2014 HealthBoards.comô All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!