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  #1  
Old 09-13-2019, 12:41 PM
John B John B is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 5
Default This is all new to me

Hi Everyone,

My name is John and I teach math and coach swimming. About 6 weeks ago I turned my head and immediately thought I had a kink. Within a day I had major muscle spasms in my upper back, and numbness in my left hand. Since then, the numbness has gone all the way to my armpit, some tingling in my right foot. The Neurosurgeon told me fusion was in my near future. Like most of the posts I’m reading here, it seems as if ADR might be the best thing for me.

I’ve been researching all of this so much, it has consumed much of my free time. Originally, Dr Ritter-Lang’s website/videos was what I saw, but then read many of the posts. It does worry me to travel abroad for this surgery, but I do understand there is more experienced docs overseas. In some of my research domestically I have continually come across Drs. Zigler and Blumenthal of the Texas Spine Clinic, and Dr Frank Philips from Rush in Chicago, Dr Riew from Columbia in NYC as being really good with ADR in the USA. Can anyone elaborate on any of these doctor’s?

One positive of this entire experience is that I feel like I have gained a sense of having far more empathy for folks with issues. I was always the athletic and in shape guy (swim/run/weights 6xweek, former college swimmer), so I really never gave second thought to the issues other people around me were having.

Anyhow, this site seems very informative, which I need since I live in a state that does things backwards. Any advice will be greatly appreciated where to go next, read, etc.
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8/20/19 DDD/Bulging at C5-C6 & C6-C7
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  #2  
Old 09-13-2019, 04:09 PM
JackBauer JackBauer is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 61
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My advice - as someone who is a very anxious traveler...

You should seriously consider the true experts in Europe who have been doing ADR's (with more advanced prosthetics) for decades...

Do you trust someone whose done hundreds of these surgeries as much as someone who has done thousands...?
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L4-L5 Broad Diffuse Bulge, mildly contacting left L5 nerve root
L5-S1 Broad Central Disc Protrusion mildly impinging left S1 nerve root
"Mild scoliosis of lumbar spine". Does not feel mild to me.


C5-C6, C6-C7 bulging, bone spurs. Imaging not looking good.


Surgery scheduled with Dr. Desai in mid-late October.
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  #3  
Old 09-13-2019, 06:24 PM
John B John B is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 5
Default Off to Europe?

Thank you Jack (as well as everyone else that posts).

I was really hoping that someone in the US has evolved/experienced enough the last 5 years that I could trust with my neck. It seems through reading all the international folks that Drs. B, Clavel, Rischke, and Desai are the best ones over there. I’ve seen enough about R-L to scare me, and some bad for Dr B.. is this a fair assessment?

I’ve also researched disks and seen to find from you all that the ESP is best. Is there a difference in doing 2-level vs. single for disc manufacturers? Guess the doc should know best.

Sorry for my questions. Now I feel like some of my students that ask the same question a thousand times. How has your journey with this been?

Any comments are good at this time and appreciated.

Thanks to Harrison for this site!
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8/20/19 DDD/Bulging at C5-C6 & C6-C7
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  #4  
Old 09-14-2019, 08:43 AM
JackBauer JackBauer is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 61
Default

There are a number of manufacturers out there as you know. Pros and cons to each. To me, the least cons are with the ESP.

That said, while it offers six degrees of freedom which I think only the M6 provides (and I do not trust the unconstrained core on that disc)...

The ESP probably isn't the disc I'd choose if I wanted to squat 350lbs on a regular basis. I'd probably consider the ProDisc for that? I don't know - I haven't researched it enough. (And all those other discs you get more concerned about the metal used (cobalt-chrome?) and the wear debris.

I'd recommend you join the FB ADR group - join FB if you need to. There is more traffic there and people post routinely on their surgeries... Images of failed surgeries, etc...

For me - two ESP's in my neck, two in my lumbar... Starting the journey in mid October.

Again - I'm (one of the) last people that would want to travel to a foreign country and stay there for a month to get this done. (I over-think things, including traveling...) But finding a surgeon I trust - who has done thousands of these surgeries... Who I am comfortable with like he was a dear old friend...

You're just not going to get all those qualities in the US. (On and in the US you'll only have access to devices I personally would not want)
__________________
L4-L5 Broad Diffuse Bulge, mildly contacting left L5 nerve root
L5-S1 Broad Central Disc Protrusion mildly impinging left S1 nerve root
"Mild scoliosis of lumbar spine". Does not feel mild to me.


C5-C6, C6-C7 bulging, bone spurs. Imaging not looking good.


Surgery scheduled with Dr. Desai in mid-late October.
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  #5  
Old 09-14-2019, 09:44 PM
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Harrison Harrison is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 6,859
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I agree with Jack has said about experienced surgeons in Europe, who are more inclined to do multi-level procedures. That said, ADR has been performed here in the US for 19 years. You can cash pay here for multi-level; some have one level ADR covered and cash pay the rest. Others will fuse one level and ADR others.

It all depends on what is best for the patient's condition, and the doctors' preferences too. Of course, money plays too big a role in this situation. Not much has changed since I started this community in 2004!
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"Harrison" - info (at) adrsupport.org
Fell on my ***winter 2003, Canceled fusion April 6 2004
Reborn June 25th, 2004, L5-S1 ADR Charite in Boston
Founder & moderator of ADRSupport - 2004
Founder Arthroplasty Patient Foundation a 501(c)(3) - 2006
Creator & producer, Why Am I Still Sick? - 2012
Donate www.arthropatient.org/about/donate
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  #6  
Old 09-17-2019, 02:25 PM
funcrew funcrew is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 40
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John,

I'm in Cologne Germany, recovering from 3 level CP-ESP ADR with Dr. Biren Desai. For a quick intro to the topic, would suggest looking up my posts here, then making a list of questions and searching further. As an American with about average insurance and very modest personal wealth, I chose to crack open my wallet and travel to Germany for the best surgery available at any price. Whether that's the right choice for you, only you can say.

Best of luck to you,

Tim
__________________
Age 56
Severe neck and back pain, 10 years+ on opiate pain meds every 4 hours, numbness and weakness in both arms and legs.
Evaluated by Dr Bertagnoli for ProDisc at L3L4, L4L5, L5S1, C5C6 and C6C7

Sept 4th, 2019: Completed 3 level CP-ESP at C4 thru C7 with Dr. Biren Desai in Cologne, Germany
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