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The Big File All issues not easily categorized in the above forums are here. Comments on general health, diet, "getting comfortable," and more are here.


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  #1  
Old 11-21-2008, 02:03 PM
Maddie Maddie is offline
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Default Would I be taking second best?

I have been waiting for an appeal with Insurance for a four level disc replacement in Germany, the same ones Terry had. It won't be scheduled until after Christmas because of a delay in paperwork.

I found out yesterday that I have been accepted for surgery with a NS in Vancouver, British Columbia, whenever I want to set the date. It would be a two stage surgery though, instead of all done on one day, but each one will be very short...one hour for the two level cervical, and two hours for the lumbar. It could possibly be spread over a few weeks, maybe involving me flying home, then back out, about a six hour flight each way. This is compared to the 4-6 hour surgery that is (possibly) available in my province for each disc, although I have yet to find anyone willing to do it.

Pros: It will be covered under our insurance. The doctor is supposed to be top notch, and easy to work with. It is in my own country. The NS was trained in Germany, by Dr. B. Did I mention that it will not bankrupt me??

Cons: The doctor has done about 150 or so surgeries so far. A far cry from the several thousand the doctors in Germany have done. He uses ProDisc, and I was hoping to use Maverick. I like the all metal composition.

Is there anything else I should be looking at, or should I jump at the chance if my appeal fails? Even if it isn't my first choice of disc? I have no other options, and I feel both excited and scared silly at the same time.

The doctors here have not given me any options to go with the diagnosis of DDD, multi-level herniation, stenosis, compression of the spinal cord, etc. The one I have seen for more than five minutes wasn't even sure fusion was warranted, let alone ADR. If I don't go to either, I am in limbo, and will be permanently, I think. Most everyone here has been in the same boat, haven't they?

I feel in some ways that I have been extremely blessed in having a second choice, but am worried that it is not the right one.

I feel like I should just book a surgery date for February, and just cancel if the appeal is successful. Arg! Help!
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C3/4-5/6- Mod. ant., severe posterior bulging w. nerve root compression. Sev. narrowing of spinal canal with cord compression.

L4/5/S1- Mod. narrowing, bulging disc, significant hypertrophy of flava lig.

Highly allergic to all metals.

NEW: 3/16/2010: Successful surgery in Brazil w. Dr. Pimenta; Nuvasive NeoDisc at C5/6, and XLIF & ALIF at L4/5/S1 w. PEEK cages. No rods, screws, plates. Non-metal lumbar ADR not available at present time, so went with fusion.
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  #2  
Old 11-21-2008, 02:59 PM
builder5840 builder5840 is offline
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Maddie,

Sounds like you have a lot going on sometimes its easier when you only have one choice instead of two or more. If I was in your shoes and thought there was a chance to get your trip to Germany covered and get the surgery and disc that you want, it might be worth the wait. Of course if your insurance will only cover your surgery done locally and you have to use a different disc, than I would do as much research on the available disc as possible to help you with your final decision. If your local surgeon has been trained by a qualified surgeon and he's done 150 or so surgeries I think that I'd be satified with that, but you'll have to make the final decision's on everything so just do what we all have to do and try to be as informed as possible and be sure that surgery is what you want and go for it. Most of us here in the US can't get more than a single level done without paying for it ourselves so your way ahead of us.

Good luck


Fall from a ladder 05 Lots of pain
Lots of test DDD C,5,6,7
Scheduled two level in Malaysia Discover disc March 09
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  #3  
Old 11-21-2008, 05:11 PM
Adrienne Adrienne is offline
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I don't know of course, but I think that 150 sounds like plenty. There's also something to be said for being close to home and even more to be said for not being bankrupt.

Well, as you mentioned, you're lucky to have choices. I'm sure you'll make a good one.

Good luck! Adrienne
__________________
Minimal DDD L4/L5
Minimal DDD L5/S1
Disco 4/07 : Large tear: @L5/S1
Idet 4/08 No improvement
Now looking at ADR vs. Fusion
ALIF Fusion 2/10 Stanford
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  #4  
Old 11-21-2008, 05:41 PM
Maddie Maddie is offline
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I will not find out about my appeal until the new year now. I thought it would go through before Christmas. So that will hit about the same time as the surgery could be available. I guess I'm wondering if I should just take the bull by the horns and book the surgery in Vancouver before I know the answer to the appeal. I could always cancel if the appeal goes well.

So you think that this doctor has enough experience under his belt? That would be enough for you? His staff is awesome, and just gives me a good feel about him.

I can't find a doctor locally who will do this, or any treatment for that matter. I just want my life back.
__________________
C3/4-5/6- Mod. ant., severe posterior bulging w. nerve root compression. Sev. narrowing of spinal canal with cord compression.

L4/5/S1- Mod. narrowing, bulging disc, significant hypertrophy of flava lig.

Highly allergic to all metals.

NEW: 3/16/2010: Successful surgery in Brazil w. Dr. Pimenta; Nuvasive NeoDisc at C5/6, and XLIF & ALIF at L4/5/S1 w. PEEK cages. No rods, screws, plates. Non-metal lumbar ADR not available at present time, so went with fusion.
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  #5  
Old 11-23-2008, 03:50 PM
builder5840 builder5840 is offline
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Maddie,

Its just my opinion of course but 150 ADR surgeries seems to me to be plenty of experience. I'm a building contractor and grew up with a father that is a plumber. I would say to you that any "plumber" that had installed 150 tiolets on 150 different homes that you would be hiring an expert tiolet setting plumber. Becuase in the installation of that many tiolets he would have probably run into any and all problems that could be faced while installing a tiolet and would have allready come up with solutions for those problems that he could have come across and would be ready when it came up again. maybe he'd have more tools in his tool box to face those issues or he might carry extra nuts, bolts or gaskets etc... Also My Father and I have never run an add to attract customers. All of our work has been done through word of mouth. So does this guy have a good reputation? cuase if he's local you should be able to ask around, if he doesn't know what he's doing and he's done that many you'll find out.

I'd ask to talk with others that he's operated on, meet with him to see if your comfortable with him, you said that he has a great staff. It's a much bigger decision that what plumber to call but that said good luck with your choice, hope the injection works and you make it throught the holidays pain free

Rchard
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  #6  
Old 11-24-2008, 08:27 PM
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KBear KBear is offline
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I agree with builder, that is enough experience (maybe not as much as we would like; but plenty). The other part of this is, you may not neccessarily want the dr. with "the most" experience, that dr. may move patients through like cattle, do ADR's on people who are not canidates, and not give a crud about quality (I am not saying this is the case in Germany, as I have no idea). I do think that I would schedule, like you said for Feb., wait for insurance appeal to come through, do a ton of research on the new dr. as well as Germany (there is a ton of good information on the surgical outcome forum, good and bad outcomes and many went to Germany). That will buy you time to make a decision (also had bad are your facets? If they are not good, you don't want to wait a long time for surgery. JMO, Kathy
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  #7  
Old 11-25-2008, 08:45 PM
Maddie Maddie is offline
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My reports say that there is moderate hypertrophy of the ligamenta flava and facet joints at L4/5 and L5/S1. I don't know how bad they have to be before they are 'bad'

I just found out that an old friend of my husband is on staff at a nearby hospital out there, so we are going to check with him re: reputation of this fellow. What luck! Nothing is going to happen soon, like tomorrow. Because I postponed my appointment for December, I now will have to wait till February before I can get another appointment, and that will be for a consult, not surgery yet. I'm really kicking myself now, but I didn't have all the details at the time. I wish I had kept the consult appointment...but maybe everything happens for a reason.

Kbear, I get what you are saying about experience not being everything. It is tough when I thought my road was all planned out...all I had to do was slay the insurance dragons and be gone , and now I have to make an actual decision! Arg!
__________________
C3/4-5/6- Mod. ant., severe posterior bulging w. nerve root compression. Sev. narrowing of spinal canal with cord compression.

L4/5/S1- Mod. narrowing, bulging disc, significant hypertrophy of flava lig.

Highly allergic to all metals.

NEW: 3/16/2010: Successful surgery in Brazil w. Dr. Pimenta; Nuvasive NeoDisc at C5/6, and XLIF & ALIF at L4/5/S1 w. PEEK cages. No rods, screws, plates. Non-metal lumbar ADR not available at present time, so went with fusion.
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  #8  
Old 11-25-2008, 09:36 PM
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Terry Terry is offline
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Maddie:

My MRI stated that I had mild to moderate facet issues at the same level that you have. I have been in good shape for two years post surgery but am noticing some facet issues creeping up currently for the last month or so. I am going to look at having another facet injection after the start of the new year. I had them every three months for the first year after my ADR surgery so that was four sets of injections. The last ones I had were in December of 07. I have not allowed the pain to interfere with anything I enjoy doing though it is becoming more annoying to sit for lengthy periods of time.

I don't know what to say other than I have to get the injections as they did provide a few months of pain relief when I got them after my surgery. I have packed on a few pounds after my cycling season though I continue to work out often.

Terry Newton
__________________
1980 ruptured L4-L5
1988 ruptured SI-L5
1990 ruptured C5-C6
1994 ruptured C6-C7
1995 Hemi-Laminectomy C5-C6, C6-C7 Mayo Clinic
Bicycle Accident 2004
MRI, EMG, Facet Injections, Epidural Blocks, Lumbar Discogram.
Stenum Hospital Surgery November 4, 2006
Prestige Disc C5-C6, C6-C7
Maverick Disc S1-L5, L4-L5
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  #9  
Old 11-26-2008, 07:55 AM
maz maz is offline
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HI Terry

I notice that you have lumbar facet issues and have trouble sitting for long periods at the moment. I too have been diagnosed with degenerated lumbar facets, L5S1 and find it hard to sit for more than an hour without throbbing, I am going to find out about facet injections. Have you considered the de-nervation route some other mebers talk about? Maz
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DDD C5/6 C6/7 following a fall onto my arm in June 06
Left Arm pain 2007 spread to the right after 10 months
Misdiagnosed x 3 then diagnosed as DDD related July 08
Active C ADR 2 levels 18th Sept 08
pain remains in shoulders and neck but is better than before (level 2-6)
arm pain resolved
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  #10  
Old 11-27-2008, 03:45 AM
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Terry Terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maz View Post
HI Terry

I notice that you have lumbar facet issues and have trouble sitting for long periods at the moment. I too have been diagnosed with degenerated lumbar facets, L5S1 and find it hard to sit for more than an hour without throbbing, I am going to find out about facet injections. Have you considered the de-nervation route some other mebers talk about? Maz
I had talked this over with my Physiatrist when I saw her last year but I have done well since my last injections last December. I am sure it is facet pain as it hurts to sit. I had been doing so well except in the last month or so and it seems to be getting worse. I would do anything to not be in chronic pain again. It sucks.

Terry Newton
__________________
1980 ruptured L4-L5
1988 ruptured SI-L5
1990 ruptured C5-C6
1994 ruptured C6-C7
1995 Hemi-Laminectomy C5-C6, C6-C7 Mayo Clinic
Bicycle Accident 2004
MRI, EMG, Facet Injections, Epidural Blocks, Lumbar Discogram.
Stenum Hospital Surgery November 4, 2006
Prestige Disc C5-C6, C6-C7
Maverick Disc S1-L5, L4-L5
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