I have a degenerated disc at L5S1. I am deciding whether to have an artificial disc put in or a spinal fusion. All suggestions are appreciated. Thank you.
I can tell you my horror stories of spinal fusion. Instead let me say that if you have a choice to keep the mobility of your spine and do an artificial disc by all means TRY THIS FIRST. One of the problems long term with fusion is the wear and tear on the joints above and below, it's like having one link not being able to move in a chain. That chain learns to move different, sometimes not even noticing a big change in the beginning. But years down the line you could end up like me, I have fusion with pedical screws and a rod at L4-s1. These surgeries were done over 10yrs ago. I know am getting pain in my neck and numbness in my arms do to narrowing of the nerve canal.
Other thing to think about is while surgery is usually pretty good at making this functional or stable again it DOES NOT mean you will be out of pain. For some lucky people it does take care of both. I have been a chronic pain patient for 10yrs and I am only 43. Never in an auto accident, my "warranty" just wore out early.
I wish you well, see as many DRs as you can for second and third opinions before you let them do anything. I did this before my second surgery, I went to USC, UCLA, LOMA LINDA and a couple other places. If only I had done this BEFORE my FIRST surgery I wouldn't be in the mess I am in today.
I recently went to a neurosurgeon due to my disc problems. He discouraged me from having surgery and explained that even if I were to have the surgery, in a few years down the road, the surgery would cause other discs to cause me problems. I am now taking anti-inflammatories every day in hopes of being proactive in warding off an episode of excrutiating pain. I've also had spinal pain treatments which have helped me.
bop, have your tried all non-invasive methods? I was forced into surgery, when the steroid injections didn't work by an over zealous DR. I agree with marie, always try EVERYTHING else first before surgery. Find a DR called a physiaritist, they specialize in pain management and rehabilitation. If you find a good one you might be able to at least put off the surgery for years if not all together. Also all physical therapist are not created equal, it's always best to go to a sports medicine office. Thats my opinion based on my 13 year journey. I've been to so many Dr's over the years I can't even remember the names now!
Of course if the disc is really degenerated badly you may have no choice but to choose one surgery or the other.
I Still say don't fuse as a first option, you can always have the artificial disc and things should be fine, but if they are not then a fusion could be done. But you can't un-fuse. Also nerve damage is something to be concerned about with either surgery. You may end up in more pain or less, it's not a guarantee, if your Dr tells it is then he's lying. Just like my first one did that screwed me up. Sorry to ramble on just want to try and make sure someone doesn't repeat my mistakes.
check into yahoo groups. There is a spinal group there that might be able to provide you with their experiences and their advise and opinions. I believe it is under spinal stenosis but they talk about all kinds of spinal problems. has helped a friend of mine with many suggestions.
As one who has had spinal fusion, please give us an update on what you are going to do?
i gotta into car accident a few years ago and my doctor wants me to have a artificial disc replacement i just turn 24 does anyone have some advice for me??? I just need to know if you can still move is it something i should wait on for awhile till i'm older...