Hi Michelle. I was not given a percentage for fusion. It really didn't even matter at the time. My doctor doesn't use any kind of artificial disc replacement and I was in too much pain to live the way I was. My discs were perforated and shredded. He said I should develop enough scar tissue to cushion the joint. But, like I said earlier, I can hear the bones rubbing against each other. I also have had arthritis for the last 19 years, and, because I left the disc in so long, I have condyle damage. I'm more concerned with needing to replace my condyle than fusion.
I don't know what the name of my first surgery was. It was in 1994, so I'm sure everything's changed now. Basically, they just went in and positioned the discs back in place. I had a very quick recovery time. This time, my left side healed just as quickly, because I had the same surgery. But, my right was open joint surgery. I had to spend the night in the hospital. Physical therapy for a month, a new splint, liquid diet for a few weeks and 6 months of no chewing. I was taking Baclofen for awhile and now am just taking Relafen and Elavil. I'm still in pain every day, but not like I was. If I don't get any better than I am today, I will be happy and feel the surgery was a success.
What exactly did your surgery involve? I can't imagine trying to get through this with an insurance company that doesn't pay. Mine won't pay for braces or splints, but they pay 90% for everything else. I hope someday these people realize what they're doing to us. This isn't a cheap disorder to treat. My insurance company didn't pay for my surgery in 94 because tmj fell between medical and dental. With my mris and everything, I paid about $12,000 for that one. But, they finally got smart. I started looking into having another surgery late last year, and thank goodness when I called they said they now covered it.
I think you're going the right way. If your discs are torn, why put them back? What did your doctor say about your discs from your last surgery? They should have been able to tell from that and your mri. And, I know what you mean about taking pills. I never took anything before. When I was on pain pills, muscle relaxers, anti inflammatories and the Elavil for sleeping and not grinding, I started to wonder how I was going to ever get out of this. Plus, the money for that is ridicuous. But, slowly but surely, they're going away. I'm down to pills 2 times a day, and am about to move to once a day.
I guess I've rambled enough. Let me know how you're doing.