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  #1  
Old 12-28-2018, 09:40 AM
Robb235 Robb235 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 31
Default Ruptured Disc While Running *MRI Images*

Hello everyone. Found the site while researching alternatives to a L5-S1 disc fusion.


Short Story:
o I am a 31 year old male who is in good physical shape. Currently live in Chattanooga, TN.
o Injured back while doing sprints in August 2017 at the age of 30, while at an Army school. No fall or anything. Something just "happened" in my lower back during a session of sprinting.
o Doctor referred me to physical therapy, which had little long term effects. Recovery mainly came from resting.
o Physical therapy and chiropractic haven't had any real results. Feels good immediately after each session, back is not as tight, which only lasts for a couple hours. But no long term results.
o Had my first appointment with the nurse practitioner at the orthopedic Surgeon's office. She ordered an MRI. MRI was completed 12/20, and my follow up with the nurse practitioner is scheduled for 1/2.
o Just started researching ADRs. I don't believe this orthopedic surgeon that I'm seeing offers that procedure. If they start talking about me needing an L5-S1 fusion, I will plan to find another ortho (probably in Atlanta) who is familiar with the ActivL ADR. I'll have to find an ortho that is in-network with Tricare if it gets to that point.


Long Story:
I'm an active 31 year old male, who has to stay in shape since I'm also in the National Guard.


I originally injured my back in August of 2017. I was running, doing high intensity interval training where I would sprint a certain distance, then slowly jog a certain distance. Well, during one of the sprints I felt something just "happen" in my lower back. I didn't know what it was at the time, but my lower back just hurt and had tightened up. I now know that I had ruptured my L5-S1 disc. This happened while I was at an Army school, and coincidently also happened to be my 30th birthday. Welcome to not being in my 20's anymore.


I went to sick call, and the doctor prescribed rest and a muscle relaxer. A few days after the injury, I started getting sciatica down my right leg. Doctor referred me to physical therapy. Did that for about a month or so. My progress seemed to plateau. The physical therapy seemed to help in the short term, as in my back would feel a little less painful right after the PT, but I don't think it did much long term. Graduated the Army school in late September 2017 and went back home to my civilian job in Chattanooga, TN.


Back home I just took ibuprofen to relieve the sciatica. My civilian job is sitting at a desk all day. I rested during the winter months, trying to give my back time to heal. Spring came around and I tried running outside again. I would run 2 or 3 times a week, but after about 2 weeks my back would hurt and be so sore I'd have to take a couple weeks off to let it rest. I went through this cycle several times, until in August of this year (about a year after the injury first occurred), my back was so sore and locked up that I stopped running altogether and started seeing a chiropractor. Looking back, I think every 1 or 2 week session of running was just hammering that L5-S1 disc and making things progressively worse.


This chiropractor supposedly specialized in "physical medicine". He would put me in a harness, and then I'd lay on my back on a table where the bottom half back and forth, but the top half of the table kept my upper body stationary. The harness was attached to a cable that pulled on my pelvis and supposedly decompressed my lower spine. Traction therapy I guess it's called. After about 15 minutes on the table, he would then adjust my back. Did this for about 2 months and never saw any real improvement. At $40 a pop, and me paying this out-of-pocket, it was getting expensive.


So I quit seeing the physical medicine chiropractor and bought an inversion table, since it did the same thing for decompressing my lower back, and was a lot cheaper than seeing the chiro. I later did some research and learned that studies show that the traction therapy pulling on the lower back is pretty much useless. My inversion table used to feel good, but now whenever I use it, my back hurts the next day and is extremely sore. I have stopped using it now.


I then made an appointment with a local orthopedic surgeon in October, but they were so booked they couldn't see me until mid-December.


From the time I made the appointment in October, to actually going to the appointment in December, I have noticed that my sciatica has mostly subsided. I feel the sciatica if I stand for an extended period of time, and sometimes when walking, but now my pain is mostly concentrated in my lower back.


I finally had my initial appointment with the nurse practitioner, who scheduled me for an MRI. Had my MRI on 12/20 (pictures below), and the radiologist's report concluded that said "L5-S1: A loss in disc space height, 1.4 cm central disc extrusion, and mild bilateral facet arthropathy result in mild central canal and bilateral stenosis".


My follow up with the nurse practitioner at the orthopedic surgeon's office is next Wednesday, the day after New Years.


In the mean time, I shared my MRI and report with my primary care doctor. He admitted that he's not an orthopedic surgeon, but seemed to think that a L5-S1 fusion was in my future. He said that because the disc was herniated straight backwards, he wasn't sure if the surgeon could get to the herniated portion to do a discectomy. I guess I'll find out what my options are at my follow up on January 2nd.


In the meantime, I've been researching alternatives disc fusions. My thought was "with technology was good as it is today, why the hell can't they simply replace the disc instead of fusing it together?" Well, I've since learned that they have been replacing discs in Europe since the 1980's, and for some reason that technology has been lagging behind here in the US.


The good news is that being military, my health insurance is through Tricare. Tricare just started recognizing ADR as a proven surgery, and has started covering it. So if my current surgeon starts talking about me needing a fusion, I'll find another one who is in-network with Tricare that does the ActivL ADR. I've found a couple surgeons in Atlanta through the ActivL manufacturer's website, and some are in-network. No clue if those surgeons are any good or not though.


I've attached images from my MRI. I have redacted my personal information from the image.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg MRI_1.jpg (87.8 KB, 59 views)
File Type: jpg MRI_2.jpg (86.1 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg MRI_3.jpg (84.4 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg MRI_4.jpg (88.4 KB, 38 views)
File Type: jpg MRI_5.jpg (90.6 KB, 42 views)
__________________
2 August 2017 - Herniated L5/S1 while doing sprints (at age 30)
20 December 2018 - MRI revealed massive L5/S1 extrusion
5 March 2019 - ActivL ADR at Texas Back with Dr. Blumenthal (at age 31)

Last edited by Robb235; 12-28-2018 at 10:11 AM. Reason: More MRI Images
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2018, 01:27 AM
Boxer78 Boxer78 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 393
Default Adr

Good news is all the other discs look perfect
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L5 S 1 herniation burning feet groin pain. Undisgnosed for months finally getting answers.
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  #3  
Old 12-30-2018, 06:53 PM
GKTM300 GKTM300 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 273
Default Bertagnoli

Get His free opinion also he is recognised as best in world n is cheapest cost due to socialized medicine
__________________
12/22/04 blew L4-5 and L5-S1 out lifting wrong
4/1/05 back to work thanks to Oxy
11/11/13 hurt back lifting again
6/6/15 last of many MRI L4-5 medium paracentral bulge with juice leaking and mid to left bulge on L5-S1
No invasive procedures except steroid shots that did nothing n hurt wicked bad
9/24/2016 Adr surgery Bertagnoli>1 year doing great
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  #4  
Old 12-31-2018, 07:49 AM
Robb235 Robb235 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2018
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GKTM300 View Post
Get His free opinion also he is recognised as best in world n is cheapest cost due to socialized medicine
I'd like to have it covered by my insurance instead of paying out of pocket, if at all possible.
__________________
2 August 2017 - Herniated L5/S1 while doing sprints (at age 30)
20 December 2018 - MRI revealed massive L5/S1 extrusion
5 March 2019 - ActivL ADR at Texas Back with Dr. Blumenthal (at age 31)
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  #5  
Old 01-01-2019, 08:15 PM
Harrison's Avatar
Harrison Harrison is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 6,847
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Rob, in 2004, I had a one-level ADR at L5-S1. I also appealed to BCBS and got the entire procedure covered.

You should be able to get covered OK. And there are many surgeons throughout the US that have been performing ADR for 18 years, so all this bodes well for your future surgery!
__________________
"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 01-02-2019, 12:16 PM
leipan71 leipan71 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 38
Default texas back institute

I am currently seeing Dr. Guyer at TBI. He suggested a possible two level lumber ADR . I am still debating whether i want to have the surgery yet. However, I have heard good reviews about Dr. Guyer and other fellow doctors such as Dr. Blumenthal and Dr. Zigler. The last time when I saw Dr. Guyer, I was told their current revision rate is about 1%.

You might want to check to see whether your insurance would cover them.
__________________
started to have back pain at age of 18
DDD at L5-S1 at age of 23 in 1993
bulding discs and disc tear at L4-L5 and L5-S1 in 2017
DiscSeel procedure at L3-S1 in Feb 2018 (no help)
considering ADR at L4-L5 and L5-S1
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  #7  
Old 01-02-2019, 12:26 PM
Robb235 Robb235 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 31
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by leipan71 View Post
I am currently seeing Dr. Guyer at TBI. He suggested a possible two level lumber ADR . I am still debating whether i want to have the surgery yet. However, I have heard good reviews about Dr. Guyer and other fellow doctors such as Dr. Blumenthal and Dr. Zigler. The last time when I saw Dr. Guyer, I was told their current revision rate is about 1%.

You might want to check to see whether your insurance would cover them.


Unfortunately, Texas Back Institute is not in-network with Tricare (Humana Military)

I've been checking different providers to see if they are in-network here: https://hmd.humana-military.com/ProviderSelection/
__________________
2 August 2017 - Herniated L5/S1 while doing sprints (at age 30)
20 December 2018 - MRI revealed massive L5/S1 extrusion
5 March 2019 - ActivL ADR at Texas Back with Dr. Blumenthal (at age 31)
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  #8  
Old 01-02-2019, 12:34 PM
Robb235 Robb235 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 31
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrison View Post
Rob, in 2004, I had a one-level ADR at L5-S1. I also appealed to BCBS and got the entire procedure covered.

You should be able to get covered OK. And there are many surgeons throughout the US that have been performing ADR for 18 years, so all this bodes well for your future surgery!


I've heard of a few surgeons in the U.S. from this site (Blumenthal, Garcia, Zigler, etc.)


But none of those that I listed are in-network with Tricare.

I have found, however, that Doctors Regis Haid and Roger Frankel with Atlanta Brain & Spine Center are in-network. But I have no idea of their experience, and whether or not they are any good?

When I go to the ActivL website and use their surgeon locator (https://www.soactivesofast.com/low-b...urgeon-locator), it comes up with Dr. Erik Bendiks with Georgia Spine & Orthopaedics, and Dr. Tuan Bui with OrthoAtlanta are the two in Georgia that also in-network. But I have no idea if they're any good?
__________________
2 August 2017 - Herniated L5/S1 while doing sprints (at age 30)
20 December 2018 - MRI revealed massive L5/S1 extrusion
5 March 2019 - ActivL ADR at Texas Back with Dr. Blumenthal (at age 31)
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  #9  
Old 01-03-2019, 09:42 AM
Robb235 Robb235 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2018
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Default

So the MRI images I posted were from 12/20, and yesterday (1/2) I had my follow up with the local orthopedic surgeon. She basically told me what I already could see for myself on the MRI and the report. That I had a large central extrusion of the L5-S1 disc. She said there was such little disc material left between the vertebrae that I will likely need a fusion. They are going to call me in the next couple days to schedule an injection.

In the mean time, I've reached out to Dr. Roger Frankel's office at Atlanta Brain & Spine center. They are in-network with Tricare. I'm trying to setup an appointment with them.

I've also reached out to Texas Back Institute in Plano, TX. They are out-of-network with Tricare, but I want to see what the cost would be to me to have them do the surgery. I would be responsible for 20% of the cost, while Tricare would pickup the other 80%. I have sent them my MRI and radiology report, and am waiting to hear back from them.
__________________
2 August 2017 - Herniated L5/S1 while doing sprints (at age 30)
20 December 2018 - MRI revealed massive L5/S1 extrusion
5 March 2019 - ActivL ADR at Texas Back with Dr. Blumenthal (at age 31)
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  #10  
Old 01-14-2019, 10:08 AM
Robb235 Robb235 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 31
Default

Just an update, I am also reaching out to Texas Back Institute. I've sent them my paperwork and my MRI, and I'm waiting on Dr. Blumenthal to review the information and get back to me. In the mean time, I did have a consult with Dr. Scott Hodges here in Chattanooga (local). He is the surgeon that does the BalancedBack, where he flies you to the Cayman Islands and replaces both the disc and the facets from the posterior. BalancedBack isn't approved by the FDA, and obviously insurance doesn't cover it. Dr. Hodges also told me he does perform ADRs with the ActivL. When I asked him how many surgeries he had performed with the ActivL, he told me "a handful", which to me means probably not that many. I'm sure he's a very skilled surgeon considering his success with the BalancedBack, but I think I'd rather have someone who has done more than "a handful" of ActivL disk replacements.


Hoping that Dr. Blumenthal contacts me soon.

I figure I also should have posted an MRI image from this view as well.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg MRI_6.JPG (58.1 KB, 21 views)
__________________
2 August 2017 - Herniated L5/S1 while doing sprints (at age 30)
20 December 2018 - MRI revealed massive L5/S1 extrusion
5 March 2019 - ActivL ADR at Texas Back with Dr. Blumenthal (at age 31)
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