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Advanced DDD with severe facet arthritis

Started by badbacmac on 06/09/2010 8:03pm

My L5 disc is totally compressed but the L4 looks pretty good. The facet joints on L4 and L5 are horrible. My surgeon advised me that I was not a candidate for disc replacement because of the L4 facets. He said he would fuse L4 and L5. Can something be done for the facets without fusion? He also said it would not be a minimally invasive surgery. I was overwhelmed and didn't ask why. He sent me to this website for research and stated I would have a lot of questions for him on my next visit. I am to have an EMG prior to that visit too. Does anyone have any feedback, advice or warnings for me?

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I would research your surgeon to reassure you of his opinion and procedure approach. I would also seek out other opinions from other surgeons with you current medical reports and MRI's, X rays in hand. If they are recent, less than a year old, stand up for yourself and do not let any doctor tell you to get new ones at his clinic, it is often how they get compensated and then formulate an opinion, however, it is redundant and not required. Consider this, in this situation there is not always n emergency to move forward, take time to get other opinions before moving into any non reversable surgery, remember that your body will experience some form of trauma from any surgery and require time and pharmeceuticals to recover from that.

I have advanced degeneration of discs at multiple levels throughout my spine, only one doctor in the USA recommended 2 surgeries, after further review from other surgeons they (4 of them) all referred me back to a neurologist stating that in addition to my DDD that my symptoms matched MS. After further testing ordered by the neurologist, I indeed have MS and most likely has been progressing for years. With that in mind, no back surgery could have change MS. My point is NOT that you or any one may have MS, it is to encourage one to get multiple opinions from surgeons who appear to have good credentials and reputations. My medical records were reviewed by many including MAyo Clinic who did not recommend any surgery since I need an artificial spine and nothing is available and most likely would not be in my life time, I sent medical records to Stenum Hospital and to Dr Bergnatoli in Germany who specialize in artificial disc replacement and they both recommended disc replacement at four levels in 2 surgeries, however they did not know of any MS issue, rare, however, all must be considered. Contact MArk Mintzer at Global Patient Network and he personally has received artificial discs and devotes his life to helping others find solutions in the USA or abroad. he can be reached at 714-963-6554, he is very helpful.

I have personally decided with many doctor opinions that with the MS, disc replacement is no longer for me. Prior to that I researched disc replacement extensively and talked to several people from the USA who traveled to Germany and they have great thing to report on the experience of receiving the discs and how they reclaimed life. I have their information save if you want to email me at djprieve@yahoo.com I also researched options in the USA and India as well, I spent 2 years researching as best I could, my health insurance does not cover disc replacement and most people who receive artificial discs pay out of pocket for them, ranging from 25k to 100k depending on howmany discs they replace.

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Hello badbacmac,

facet problems are strong contraindication for total disc replacement. Fusion could be a good choice for you, but it all depends what exactly is happening in your discs. Also, fusion can be done in minimally-invasive manner.

But, minimally-invasive spine surgery had advanced rapidly over the last few years, and there are some new treatments that can help patients buy time and avoid fusion/TDR. I suggest that you explore about it.

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Thank you for the responses. I waited to see a surgeon as a last resort and somehow convinced myself that surgery was all that was left. I am continuing to research and obtain more opinions. Sometimes I get so caught up in my pain that I forget what progress has been made. Continued feedback is appreciated.

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I am still not sure whats your diagnosis, maybe you should rewrite from MRI report... Maybe you can be a candidate for some minimally-invasive or less-invasive procedure to relief some percentage of your pain and postpone fusion/ADR.

Kind regards.

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I worked as a nurses aide for 31 years the last 14 years on a orthopedic floor.I have heard many times if you have one area in your spine that is messed up they can fix it.More than one area eventually the top disk and the bottom disk with the surgery in the middle it will mess up those disks. I have DDD,a herniated disk,2 bulging disks,spinal steno-sis .I just put up with the pain use Advil on occasion, have been to allot of doctors all acted like I was a drug seeker of course being a woman most doctors think everything is in our heads.Even though all of my problems show up on MRI my only hope is one day the doctors will have pain and be treated the way I have been treated.

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I was born w congenital kyphosis, had fusion and instrumentaion from T11-L2, I have since 2003 had herniated disc L5-S1, I have right side severe pain from that area down to sacro area also severe hip pain, been to chiro, pain mgnt had inj in sacro area, been on pain med no relief, hydo therapy, all have not given me any relief, cant bend, sit, stand, lift a gall of milk w/o area hurting worse, went to back surgeon said won't do surgery beleive would not improve, and might make worse, only benefit, would be for dr. so see what is going on, had bone scan, mri and only ans, was ostoarthritis, post laminectomy syndrm, ddd, sent me back to reg phy, who gave lyrica which ins wont cover cant take other pain med due to stomach problems, and said only other opt at this time is see if can get nerve simulator, I also feel dr dont give clear opinion or expanation, or ans for why pain is unbearable, havn,t been able to work in two yrs, and even had office job but cant sit for more than 20 min, had apply for ssd, was denied, had hearing waiting for letter lawyer said 99 per change of winning, anyone with similar experience. good luck to all.

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