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    Old 04-02-2004, 04:10 AM   #1
    jayjay2
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    Artificial disks anyone ?

    Hi all,

    First off this is not jayjay2, it's her hubby with a question for any artificial disk implant patients. I had a fall in Oct2001 and damaged my L4/L5 disk. I have had a NuclearPlasty done in August of 2002 which relieved my symptoms for approximatly 3 months. I have had several Cortisone injections into the problem area over a 12 month period all of which have had limited effects. Last September I was sent for a 2nd MRI scan and it showed the disk had protruded a lot more than previously. I have been off work completly since June 2003 anyway. My injury is work related and I do not know the workers medial compensation system the world over but I have been paid a minimum wage since my accident via "Workers Compensation" payments. My pain specialist referred me in Sept of last year back to my surgeon saying there was nothing more he could do for me after several procedures (see above re cortisone shots etc). My surgeon has studied my scans and referred me to another surgeon and they both think I am a "prime candidate" for an artificial disk. Because it is such a relativly new "experimental" procedure the insurance company here are NOT willing to fund it. My other option is to fund it myself, approximatly AUS$30,000 all up including hospital stay. Currently I am taking Oxycontin and Oxycodine to "manage" my pain, but it has got to the point where I have almost had enough of everything. My home life with my family has suffered immensly and I run with a fairly "short fuse'. It is really starting to strain the whole family.

    Anyway, I'm really trying to find out if anyone on here has had an artificial disk inserted and what it has meant to them, has it been worth it ? Them kind of answers. Please excuse me if I have explained this all wrong, my very first attempt at writing something in these forums. I have read what I can about the artificial disks which are on offer, Pro-Disk, Maverick etc and wish to hear first hand from anyone who has had one done.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this, I guess I better run along now and register here too

     
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    Old 04-02-2004, 05:45 AM   #2
    carken
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    Re: Artificial disks anyone ?

    I understand your pain and your situation. I, too, would like to have an artificial disk, but instead I had to have a fusion because in the U.S. they have not yet been approved by FDA (federal drug administration). Anyone who has more current info, please correct me, but the last I heard it would be sometime after January 2005 before this prodedure is available here.

    Carole

     
    Old 04-02-2004, 07:13 AM   #3
    briley
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    Re: Artificial disks anyone ?

    Morning: I would like to reply to tell you that I had the Maverick disc put into the L5-S1 area of my lubar spine back in December 18th, a little over 3 months ago. I would do it all over again if need be. My back is so much better; however, I still suffer with leg and foot pain from nerve damage. My doctor feels as though this too will eventually pass when then nerves have had time to heal themselves. I am still taking Oxcodone at night and Vicodin during the day. But I must admit that I find myself taking less as each week passes so I must be getting better. If I didn't have the leg and foot pain I would say that I was 100%. My doctor, Kenneth Burkus, from the Hughston Sports Hospital in Columbus, GA, is an honor graduate from Yale University and I have all the confidence in him and his abilities. He enrolled me in the study and I was selected to receive the disc replacement instead of a fusion. I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to gain the latest medical procedure for back problems. Please continue to look into this procedure for yourself and if you have to pay for it, then it will probably be the best money you ever spent. Let us hear from you.


    [QUOTE=jayjay2]Hi all,

    First off this is not jayjay2, it's her hubby with a question for any artificial disk implant patients. I had a fall in Oct2001 and damaged my L4/L5 disk. I have had a NuclearPlasty done in August of 2002 which relieved my symptoms for approximatly 3 months. I have had several Cortisone injections into the problem area over a 12 month period all of which have had limited effects. Last September I was sent for a 2nd MRI scan and it showed the disk had protruded a lot more than previously. I have been off work completly since June 2003 anyway. My injury is work related and I do not know the workers medial compensation system the world over but I have been paid a minimum wage since my accident via "Workers Compensation" payments. My pain specialist referred me in Sept of last year back to my surgeon saying there was nothing more he could do for me after several procedures (see above re cortisone shots etc). My surgeon has studied my scans and referred me to another surgeon and they both think I am a "prime candidate" for an artificial disk. Because it is such a relativly new "experimental" procedure the insurance company here are NOT willing to fund it. My other option is to fund it myself, approximatly AUS$30,000 all up including hospital stay. Currently I am taking Oxycontin and Oxycodine to "manage" my pain, but it has got to the point where I have almost had enough of everything. My home life with my family has suffered immensly and I run with a fairly "short fuse'. It is really starting to strain the whole family.

    Anyway, I'm really trying to find out if anyone on here has had an artificial disk inserted and what it has meant to them, has it been worth it ? Them kind of answers. Please excuse me if I have explained this all wrong, my very first attempt at writing something in these forums. I have read what I can about the artificial disks which are on offer, Pro-Disk, Maverick etc and wish to hear first hand from anyone who has had one done.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this, I guess I better run along now and register here too [/QUOTE]

     
    Old 04-02-2004, 10:18 AM   #4
    Mouseman-O
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    Re: Artificial disks anyone ?

    I am currently 7 days post op from getting a Flexicore artificial disk at L5S1. The Flexicore trial is currently in its initial enrollment phase, meaning that once you enroll, you have a 2 out of 3 chance of getting the disk over getting fusion. I lucked out, and received the disk. When I looked into the trial, I had specifically asked when I would find out what my selection would be, and they said way before the operation. I asked what keeps patients from dropping out if they are not selected for the disk, and they said they like to screen out the ADR only patients. Two days later, they had called and said I was getting the disk, so I didn't have to think about other ADR or fusion alternatives, (fusion with another Dr. with another method, other ADR trials, going to Europe, etc.). You can find out the participating clinics at centerwatch.com, under musculoskeletal, spinal surgery. So far, I have been ambulatory, and do not have some of the symptoms I had before I went in. ADR's can be very beneficial, as long as you meet the enrollment criteria. Good luck, and let me know if I can answer anymore question. Thanks.

    DanO
    __________________
    |41 YO Male
    |L5/S1- DDD/Stenosis/+ discogram
    |FlexiCore ADR at L5S1 scheduled for 3/25/04

     
    Old 04-03-2004, 06:12 PM   #5
    tennisnut
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    Re: Artificial disks anyone ?

    I am in the process of scheduling my ADR surgery (prodisc). There are many more stories from patients who have had this procedure done on another e-board. Look up back pain support group in your search engine and you will find the group! I am not allowed to post the web address here, but you should have no trouble finding it. I was able to talk with a number of people who've had this procedure and most are doing amazingly well.

    --tennisnut

    2002: Gradual onset lower back pain.
    MRI-bulge/DD @ L5/S1. Discogram- Grade V annular tear, 50% loss of disc height.
    2003: Multiple ESI fail, PT makes pain worse.
    Meds: 120mg oxycontin, 3600 mg Neurontin
    Surgeons say fusion or ADR my only hope.
    Try IDET (11/03). No benefit.
    Now scheduling artificial disc replacement (Prodisc).

     
    Old 04-04-2004, 11:16 PM   #6
    chdfw
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    Re: Artificial disks anyone ?

    I received an SB Charite Artificial Disc (L4/L5) and I am in a similar situation as BRILEY. I am also dealing with the leg problem (nerves to the leg are extremely painful). In addition, the pain medication I am also taking a high dose of neurontin. As I understand this situation, it is fairly common for spine surgery (fusions etc.)

    I did not hesitate in my pursued of the artificial disc – the fusion is extremely evasive and the recovery time is very long. I am happy with my choice and would not do anything different. Note, if the artificial disc did not work, I could always get a fusion.

    If you have any specific question, I would be happy to try to answer them for you.
    Good luck.

     
    Old 04-04-2004, 11:41 PM   #7
    jayjay2
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    Re: Artificial disks anyone ?

    Thanks for all the replies I am going to be seeing my surgeon soon and ask some specific questions. Looks like I will be self funding the Pro-Disk, I just want to make sure that I do make the right decision, so far from what I have read it is the way of the future. I just don't know how much longer I can go without having the operation one way or another. Apart from getting my life back, I really want my family back. I thinik many people feel the same way.

    So wish me luck, I will let you all know how I go and when I will be having the op.

    Thanks, for listening and the advice. I know Jackie (my wife) will be happy once I get this done. We, as a family have had our fair share of health problems over the last 48 months or so.

    Cheers

     
    Old 04-05-2004, 07:50 AM   #8
    chdfw
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    Re: Artificial disks anyone ?

    We all wish you the very best. I am very surprised that AUS is considering this ‘experimental’, in most European countries, this procedure has been practiced the last ten years. My family in Europe was very eager to get me over there for my procedure (which was my alternative if I had not been accepted in the trail in US).
    Just keep up the spirit and continue pushing until you get whats right for you.

     
    Old 04-05-2004, 10:44 AM   #9
    Standingman1
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    Re: Artificial disks anyone ?

    First, greetings to old pal T'nut. I gather you'll be starting your own thread on the Prodisc, to which I look forward. One question if people know. From what I know (which is very little about this), ADR is only for L4-5 and 5-S1 levels, yes? It's way ahead of where I am, but since my own "issue" is main at L2-3, I thought I'd confirm this.

    Thanks,

    Standingman

     
    Old 04-05-2004, 11:35 AM   #10
    chdfw
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    Re: Artificial disks anyone ?

    I believe that the SB Charite Artificial Disc is used on that level.

     
    Old 04-05-2004, 12:03 PM   #11
    tennisnut
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    Re: Artificial disks anyone ?

    Standingman,

    Hello, good friend! I know for a fact that they have used the Prodisc at L2/L3. I have an article titled "Indications for Full Prosthetic disc arthoplasty:a correlation of clinical outcome against a variety of indicators." This article was published in a 2002 issue of European Spine Journal. The authors report outcomes of 108 patients who had various discs replaced. Not surprisingly, most people had L5/S1 done. But there were 3 patients who had L2/3 done. 91% of patients had either good or excellent outcomes. The first author of this pub, Dr. Bertagnoli, is considered to be one of the premier disc replacement docs around. He was my choice for a surgeon, should I end up going to Europe.

    Would replacement of a disc solve your problem, in theory? I forget all the details about your disc pathology. I know about the stenosis. But I think that you also have DDD. But which is the source of the pain, or do they both contribute? Have you had the dreaded discogram to find out if you have discogenic pain? The selection criteria for disc replacement are: primarily experiencing back pain (as opposed to leg pain), diagnosis of DDD, no facet arthritis, spondy. There are some other exclusion criteria such as no previous abdominal surgery (because of the anterior approach used fir the surgery). If I were you, I'd get an opinion from one of the docs involved in either the prodisc or charite clinical trials. What can it hurt?

    Now that my life is somewhat sane again, I will be back on the boards catching up with you all and posting more info about my process. I'm finally starting to believe that I am going to get my life back. I can't wait to get my new disc and be on the road to recovery. I'm surprised to learn that disc replacement patients only spend an average of 2.3 days in the hospital. They say only a month of restrictions post-operatively, and the possibility of starting recreational sports 3 months after surgery. I've heard of a number of folks who've had disc replacement and are playing tennis with as much vigor as before the surgery. So, there's lots to look forward to.

    I know that you were going to wait until Spring to decide about surgery. Have you definitely decided to have surgery, or still mulling it over? I'll snoop around and try to find what you've been up to.

    -t'nut

     
    Old 04-05-2004, 02:29 PM   #12
    Standingman1
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    Re: Artificial disks anyone ?

    Hi T'nut--Thanks for the word! Great to see you back in the hood, as usual.

    If you snoop around, you'll find I'm not exactly Mr. Consistency! At this point, as you'll see on the lami thread, I'm still using a combination of max treadmill, core strengthening (to tolerance--not so easy to judge!), weight loss (also not easy), and a few little chiro type tricks I've found a doc who can do. But I'm nearing the two year anniversary of this madness, as well as the end of the semester, so it's time to "revisit" the question. My sitting problem remains the major issue, and there are occasional "promising" signs. So I'm hanging tight for now (so to speak), but also I'm thinking ahead....perhaps several years ahead.

    The precise source of my problem remains a bit uncertain. It is definitely more back than leg pain, but some of both. A lateral recess stenosis at L3 is the most likely suspect. But I have not had a discogram. This is what MRI and myelogram suggest, as well as pain distribution. Also, there is some arthropathy in the facet in that arena, so that may already make me a non-candidate. Also, I have had an appendectomy and inguinal hernia repair. Does that count as abdominal surgery by the criteria here? By my own anatomical map, the appendectomy is a fair distance from where I think they'd go in for L2/3, but who knows?

    Maybe I could get an artificial abodomen first, and go from there?

    Standingman

     
    Old 04-05-2004, 05:30 PM   #13
    tennisnut
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    Re: Artificial disks anyone ?

    Standingman,

    Well, I'm glad to hear about the positive signs. If I had any at all, I'd hold off of doing any surgery. But I seem to only get worse with passing time. I may have over-stated the contraindication re. prior abdominal surgery, but I've read it someplace. I know that to replace L5/S1 or L4/5, they make an incision in the peritoneal region and go straight in (after retracting your organs and major vessels). Might they go in higher to get to L2/3. Logic seems that they would do so, but I can't be sure. I have some mild arthritic facet changes and those didn't rule me out so I think it's more significant pathology that they're looking for.

    I haven't really heard that they are recommending ADR to treat stenosis, but I can't speak to the anatomical issues. Anyway, as you said, you've got plenty of time to sort out all the options. It is a real challenge not to gain weight after having your activity level so restricted. I've put on about 5-8 pounds since this whole thing started and the only way to get it off is to restrict my intake. I haven't made much of an effort in that regard, being that eating is one of the few pleasures I have left. What're you gonna do?

    t'nut

     
    Old 04-05-2004, 07:20 PM   #14
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    Re: Artificial disks anyone ?

    I don't know if my story will help you but it is food for thought. In 1996, my doctor told me I had degenerative bone disease. Which meant being on 3 different kinds of pain pills and where even sneezing would through my back out. I had a procedure called Lumbar Laminectomy and fusion that had been in existence for only 4 years at the time with my doctor doing it for 3. With this procedure they took out 2 disks and put in titanium rods with holes and put bone chips inside that was taken from my hips. Over the years, the bone chips have grown naturally and have fused my back. After the surgery for about a month the siatic (sp) nerve bothered me but the taking of the bone chips from my hip hurt worse than the back surgery (which by the way they went through the stomach to perform). This happened 8/96 and I have not had one ounce of problems with my back since. Although if I don't do my back exercises for a while my back aches a little. Don't know if this is something you would want to look into but thought I would share with you.

    Charla

     
    Old 04-05-2004, 10:10 PM   #15
    standingman
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    Re: Artificial disks anyone ?

    Charla--Good for you! As you'll find on this board, many have had a procedure similar to yours, but not all have had such excellent results. Of course, as has often been said, boards like this are probably more likely to draw people who have not benefitted as clearly or well from the traditional approaches, surgical or otherwise.

    T'nut--Ah, weight! My treadmill ought to be enough to do it, but, as you say, eating is a pleasure that's hard to restrict when one is feeling so restricted already. To raise a topic that I haven't seen discussed here--but I'm guessing also figures for a lot of us--drinking is also hard to restrict, and I don't mean sparkling water. That probably deserves a thread all its own.

    Re: "promising signs," yes, I'm inclined to sit tight (that's two so-to-speaks in four words) for the moment. As I said on one of these threads, I think, my physiatrist did a chiro-type move on me a couple of weeks ago that scared the heck out of me. Yet I thiink it actually made a difference, even in terms of strength, for about three days. I'm trying to get in soon again to see if this is a replicable result. That would be promising indeed. As I think you know, the magic golfballs in Hawaii didn't do it.

    Standingman

     
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