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Artificial Disc Replacement of Cervical Spine
Old 09-17-2017, 07:14 AM   #1
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Artificial Disc Replacement of Cervical Spine

I have had herniated disc at C4-C5 for sometime. I have been loosing strength in my arm and living through nagging pain. I am seriously considering surgical intervention now. Wanted to get more information/experiences from this group if they have any feedback for artificial disc replacement. All the studies I have seen so far show better success rate and long term results for disc replacement vs disc fusion (ACDF). The only thing concerns me is that artificial disc do NOT have longer than 10 year study in US since the first artificial disc was FDA approved in 2007.
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Old 09-17-2017, 07:49 AM   #2
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I have a friend and know another person who had it done and are very happy with the outcome. The one guy I know the best, was at his wits end. He was in pain and working with experts at John's Hopkins and not getting any better. He was about to go in for fusion when I hooked him up with the other guy who had it and he went for it. He did a lot of research and ended up going to Germany for the procedure since he needed two disks replaced and I guess medical protocol in the U.S. is to only do one.

I'm not a medical person, but if faced with the choice, I think fusion would be my very last resort. It seems logical to me that fusion would certainly limit your mobility (obviously) and only serve to put more pressure (transfer the load) to the next disc.

One thing I did note with my friend is that the replacement wasn't without it's challenges. This seems to be a type of intervention that requires a lot of physical therapy. My guess is that if you slack on that, you'll not get the best results. I'll PM you with a couple names early next week after I give my friends a call.
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Old 09-17-2017, 09:12 AM   #3
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Good to hear about your friend's experience. By the way, FDA approved 2-level disc replacement with Mobi-C disc in 2013/2014. Most insurance cover 1-level and 2-level disc replacement for Cervical spine. Lot of insurance companies do not cover lumbar disc replacement.
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Old 09-17-2017, 09:44 AM   #4
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I have three levels of disc degeneration and was told I'm not a surgical candidate. I'm managing with a great pain management doctor and an understanding primary care doctor who prescribes my meds and physical therapy when needed. My pain levels are under control for nine of the past eleven years, so even if surgery some day becomes an option, I may pass.
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Old 09-17-2017, 10:10 AM   #5
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I have degenerative disc disease and have herniated C4-C5 and bulges on most of the remaining C disks.

I had a neurosurgeon tell me he wanted to fuse several discs. He claimed no reduced range of motion from fusion. I really can't see that, but ok, your opinion. I got a second opinion and that surgeon felt he couldn't make me better, he'd only take me if I went downhill.

Personally if I had to opt for surgery I would go to the replacement if it is feasible.

Good luck on whatever direction you take.
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Old 09-17-2017, 12:03 PM   #6
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My 81yo Dad had a C3-C4 ACDF about two months ago because the neurosurgeon was very concerned my Dad would wake up a quadriplegic one day. Nobody thought that would be fun.

He came through the surgery really well. Came home from the hospital the next day and had no PT and no rehab. His minor symptoms (radial and ulnar nerve tingling and weakness) that had the doc worried have somewhat improved.

An artificial disk was never brought up as an option. They replaced my Dad's disk with cadaver bone and then screwed the assemblage together with a plate.

Good luck, sorry to hear about the pain.
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Old 09-17-2017, 01:18 PM   #7
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I had C6-C7 ACDF done June of 2016. I fought the shoulder pain and loss of arm strength for a while with Cortisone, nerve blockers, pain killers, etc... with not a lot of success. Finally went for the ACDF and wish I would have done it sooner! Recovery was pretty fast and I feel way better now. The only drawback is if I over-extend my neck for a while (painting a ceiling for example) I'll get a little sore but I recover pretty fast now.
Artificial disc was discussed a little but my insurance would not cover it. Was fine with the ACDF though.
Just do a little research on your surgeon and make sure he has done a lot of them with a high success rate.
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