ADR is his specialty; he is considered one of the top researchers/surgeons in the field at a top 5 medical school/hospital in the country. I have spoken with several doctors I know, they all said this surgeon is the one they would want to operate on their own necks. He was specific about 3 months in a collar.
You are correct about the FDA approving only one level ADR. According to the chief surgeon, insurance companies are reluctant to cover the procedure, so I am looking into what my insurance will and will not cover.
I am compiling a list of questions for the follow up appointment next month and will add yours to the list.I appreciate the input, separating out the 3 issues and figuring out what questions to ask and organizing all the records/tests is really important. I will check out the Reader's Digest as well.
Last edited by Administrator; 09-22-2012 at 09:11 PM.
That's great that this Dr. is so highly recommended...
And I'm just going on what I know from my own experience with having 3, two-level, cervical fusions. The first fusion they didn't use hardware and took bone from my own hip, I was in a collar for 2 months.
The last two fusions, even the really major one with going in through the anterior and posterior approach, they used titanium rods/screws/plates....I wore a collar only when in the car or when fatigued the first few weeks.
So...that is why I was saying I have never heard of having a collar for 3 months if a fusion is done with hardware.
Anyway....I'm hoping you can get some answers soon with insurance and where to go from there..
And most important, ask the surgeon directly if he has any financial agreement with the manufacturer of the ADR he wants to use.
I'm not sure why they were surprised about your EMG studies...Many people can have herniated discs and stenosis but have no symptoms. If they aren't pushing on specific nerves....this is a good thing but it's not unusual.
If you took 100 people off the street right now over the age of 30...you would find close to 75% of people with disc/spine issues. As mentioned...some can have little to no symptoms at all and those who do, 85% of those issues resolve themselves over time or through non surgical means.
He was clear on his financial involvement, or lack thereof, with the manufacturer, as is the University website. The hospital also adopted 'the checklist' advocated by Dr. Atul Gawande to prevent avoidable complications.
I am guessing they were surprised at the EMG results because the of the recent issue with dropping things/grip strength. The difference between the imaging from 4 years ago to now is fairly significant. I have improved my range of motion from 4 years ago by being consistent with following the home exercises from PT.
He also said the bone grafts from the hip bone were quite painful. You have clearly been through a lot. We are the lucky few that are both symptomatic and the issues don't resolve themselves over time.
The one part where I was very lucky is that I barely had any pain from the hip bone graft. But I hear that quite a few people have issues with it.
My first anterior approach fusion was really pretty easy and I recovered quickly but unfortunately I had bone resorption and the two levels collapsed again.
My second surgery I had a terrible Neurosurgeon and PM Dr. but was kind of stuck and needed the surgery asap. But I knew the moment I woke up that this guy did an awful job and I was in more pain than before the surgery! He was such a jerk and told me that I shouldn't hurt at all because he "fixed" me....
Thankfully I found the Neuro and PM I have now. They are a God send to me. The first appt. with the Neuro...he hugged me and said, "I'm so sorry for the awful pain you are in and if you stick with us, we will make sure you never have to suffer again". Obviously he told me that with my severe issues that the surgery he was going to do was to only fix the mechanical issues and hopefully help with the nerve pain, but that I would need chronic pain mgmt. for the other pain.
And the posterior approach is what hurt the most cutting through muscle so the anterior part didn't bother me much at all. Didn't hurt much or have any swallowing issues...But he had to use the posterior as well at this point to really shore up the levels from front and back since they kept having issues..
Anyway...sorry for rambling...just sharing that yes...we are the 15% that have chronic issues and have awful spines that are following apart. I never smoked which they now know that this dehydrates the discs and is the cause for many people's disc herniations...
It sounds like you are in really good hands...literally! LOL...And I'll keep following your thread to see what happens with the insurance company.
Trust me, you aren't rambling. You have been through a lot and the contrast between the 2nd and 3rd NS's is an important story for anyone facing surgery to hear. Thank you.
I wonder if second hand smoke exposure or living near a freeway/railroad has a similar effect of dehydrating discs. People who have never smoked can and do contract lung cancer. I didn't smoke but my parents did for years, both eventually quit.