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  #31  
Old 08-27-2016, 11:55 AM
Tom B. Tom B. is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 29
Default Thanks

Thanks, Fathub, for the encouragement and advice!

Beaverc, it was the anterior approach only, with a vertical (not a medical word?) incision. I think I saw somewhere that for just one disc, the cut is horizontal.

My thinking about going to Europe - thank goodness that the surgery I needed wasn't covered by insurance - so that I was forced to go where the surgeons have the most experience AND where the cost is lower.

It's really a shame that, after ten years of paying attention to ADR, I haven't seen that there are dozens of surgeons with LOTS of experience, covered by insurance and using disc designs that are more standardized according to each purpose or individual case.

I mean, really, what's the hold-up with this technology? Fusion is necessary in many cases, I'm sure, but for people who are forced into it for economic reasons or because they aren't as informed as we are on this forum, it's not fair.
__________________
2002 - leg symptoms after ice skating lessons
2005 - DDD diagnosis - mainly at L3 - S1 (L1/2 not good either)
X-rays, 2 MRIs, EMG, mylegram/CT scan, discogram/CT scan, 2nd discogram
3 ESIs, nerve root injection, PT, chiropractic, SED at L5/S1 - qualified success
February 9, 1016 - stood up from chair - left leg and pelvis numbness and tingling, moderate lumbar pain
X-rays, MRI, CT scan, discogram/CT scan, mylegram/CT scan
ESI
April 26, 2016 - L3 - S1 3-level ProDisc-L
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  #32  
Old 08-29-2016, 10:49 AM
Romakis's Avatar
Romakis Romakis is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 197
Default Tom B

Excellent point Tom! If my IP paid for the ADR in the US, I most definitely would have done here; God knows what the outcome might have been
__________________
46yo, DDD of L4-S1. Microdiscectomy L5-L4 in 2014. L4-L5-S1 M6 ADR with Dr. Clavel - June 2015.
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  #33  
Old 08-30-2016, 02:59 AM
beaverc beaverc is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 119
Default Outcome

Romakis; "God knows what the outcome might have been" Agreed !!, you could have been one of the unfortunate ones who contracted the dreaded "FAILED BACK SURGERY SYNDROME". Fabricated "CYA" nonsense by Drs. / hospitals / insurance companies / attorneys all at the expense of the patient.
I have read of spine patients shipped off to "pain management" doctors after the diagnosis of FBSS or fighting to have another surgery for months or longer all the while worse than they were prior to surgery.
If I'm correct the term "failed back surgery syndrome" doesn't exist in Europe. You and Tom made good choices going overseas it sounds like you guys are thankfully doing all right.
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  #34  
Old 09-27-2016, 02:54 AM
Tom B. Tom B. is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 29
Default Steadily Improving

Thanks, Romakis and beaverc.

Here's a quick update five months after three-level ADR. I saw the neurosurgeon and was told that the T12/L1 protrusion is likely not causing my symptoms. Since I saw him, I have SLOWLY continued to improve. I still have the left leg partial numbness, but the ankle burning/tingling is not waking me up anymore, so that's an improvement. The left leg tightness while walking and standing is mostly gone.

My pain level is pretty much zero to one on the scale. My PT says my strength and range of motion is nearly normal except for side bending, which doesn't feel bad to me. Maybe I never could bend sideways. I'm back at the gym two or three times per week, doing close to the easy workout I used to do.

The main lesson is to believe it when they say that the recovery is SLOW, but steady.
__________________
2002 - leg symptoms after ice skating lessons
2005 - DDD diagnosis - mainly at L3 - S1 (L1/2 not good either)
X-rays, 2 MRIs, EMG, mylegram/CT scan, discogram/CT scan, 2nd discogram
3 ESIs, nerve root injection, PT, chiropractic, SED at L5/S1 - qualified success
February 9, 1016 - stood up from chair - left leg and pelvis numbness and tingling, moderate lumbar pain
X-rays, MRI, CT scan, discogram/CT scan, mylegram/CT scan
ESI
April 26, 2016 - L3 - S1 3-level ProDisc-L
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  #35  
Old 09-27-2016, 05:59 AM
beaverc beaverc is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 119
Default Recovery

TomB: "My pain level is pretty much zero to one on the scale. My PT says my strength and range of motion is nearly normal except for side bending, which doesn't feel bad to me. Maybe I never could bend sideways. I'm back at the gym two or three times per week, doing close to the easy workout I used to do"= Most Excellent!! Glad to hear it Tom.
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  #36  
Old 10-13-2016, 10:07 AM
mgossel mgossel is offline
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Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 23
Default

HI Tom,
I have not been on here for awhile. I also had adr on multiple levels in my neck and back around the same time you did. I completely agree with you that it is a long SLOW recovery, but it was well worth it and I haven't felt this good since before my accident 12 years ago. I would say I am about 70 percent in my recovery and it gets better everyday. I still get bad days but they are nowhere near as bad as they used to be. I haven't used a cane or walker since my surgery, and before I used them anytime I could get out of bed. Anyway enough about me. I am glad that you are doing better and I wish you the best and I truly believe that you will look back on this and realize that you did the best thing possible for yourself. I don't know about you but this is the first time I trust and believe in what my surgeon says. I have hope and faith again. Even though we aren't through the woods yet. We will be soon enough. Take care.
__________________
Degeneration of discs C3-C6, T8-T9, L4-L5, and L1-S1 due to car accident in 2005.

Over 100 injections in both neck and back
L5-S1 laminectomy
L4-L5 selective endoscopic disctectomies
L5-S1 ALIF fusion
Neurostimulator implant at T8
C3-C4 selective endoscopic disctectomy
C5-C6 selective endoscopic disctectomy

4-6 level adr surgery in neck and back with Dr Clavel on April 11th. Will also have fusion on L1-L2 and neurostimulator implant removal
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  #37  
Old 10-13-2016, 11:46 AM
Tom B. Tom B. is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 29
Default Thanks

Thanks, beaverc and mgossel!

mgossel, I recognize your name, so must have seen your earlier posts. I'm glad you're doing well. I mentioned to my PT that it's frustrating not being able to predict the rate of recovery. I told her that I look back to yesterday and last week, trying to compare the level of symptoms, but don't see obvious change. It's more on a time scale of months that I notice improvement.
__________________
2002 - leg symptoms after ice skating lessons
2005 - DDD diagnosis - mainly at L3 - S1 (L1/2 not good either)
X-rays, 2 MRIs, EMG, mylegram/CT scan, discogram/CT scan, 2nd discogram
3 ESIs, nerve root injection, PT, chiropractic, SED at L5/S1 - qualified success
February 9, 1016 - stood up from chair - left leg and pelvis numbness and tingling, moderate lumbar pain
X-rays, MRI, CT scan, discogram/CT scan, mylegram/CT scan
ESI
April 26, 2016 - L3 - S1 3-level ProDisc-L
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  #38  
Old 10-17-2016, 07:50 PM
mgossel mgossel is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 23
Default

Tom,
Lower back is always slower. Just think about it, it has to heal while it bears the load of your body. It's getting a work out, but have faith it will come. I also have found that that people with chronic pain has a ridiculous amount of pain receptors so it doesn't take much at all to feel the pain. It takes several months to get back down to a normal level even upto a year. The more that they are not used the quicker the recovery. Anyway I have to run just wanted to give a possibility of why it takes so long. Take care my friend. 💪💪💪💪 You can do it.
__________________
Degeneration of discs C3-C6, T8-T9, L4-L5, and L1-S1 due to car accident in 2005.

Over 100 injections in both neck and back
L5-S1 laminectomy
L4-L5 selective endoscopic disctectomies
L5-S1 ALIF fusion
Neurostimulator implant at T8
C3-C4 selective endoscopic disctectomy
C5-C6 selective endoscopic disctectomy

4-6 level adr surgery in neck and back with Dr Clavel on April 11th. Will also have fusion on L1-L2 and neurostimulator implant removal
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  #39  
Old 01-21-2017, 12:52 AM
Tom B. Tom B. is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 29
Default Nine-Month Update

Thanks, mgossel!

Here's a nine-month update (after three-level lumbar ADR - Bertagnoli ProDisc-L) -

Whatever was going on with my left ankle (ache and tingling) has mostly resolved. I still have the lingering numbness in my left pelvis, leg and foot, but it doesn't bother me much. I still think it's very slowly improving.

I've finished with physical therapy (continuing exercises at home) and have been going to the gym twice a week. My therapist measured my range of motion to be normal in all directions. I can now touch my toes without bending my knees for the first time in several years.

I've followed up with local surgeons as well as Dr. Bertagnoli (via email) and have been told my X-rays look great.

Today, I was told the FAA approved my First Class Medical Certificate, but it will take a couple weeks to process and mail. Unfortunately, this means I will have to go back to work. Haha. We will see in the next months how my back holds up to all the sitting and turbulence.

My energy level is still low. Maybe it's just old age or laziness, and it does seem everyone has this complaint. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
__________________
2002 - leg symptoms after ice skating lessons
2005 - DDD diagnosis - mainly at L3 - S1 (L1/2 not good either)
X-rays, 2 MRIs, EMG, mylegram/CT scan, discogram/CT scan, 2nd discogram
3 ESIs, nerve root injection, PT, chiropractic, SED at L5/S1 - qualified success
February 9, 1016 - stood up from chair - left leg and pelvis numbness and tingling, moderate lumbar pain
X-rays, MRI, CT scan, discogram/CT scan, mylegram/CT scan
ESI
April 26, 2016 - L3 - S1 3-level ProDisc-L
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  #40  
Old 12-12-2018, 06:31 PM
Tom B. Tom B. is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 29
Default Two Years, Eight Months Since 3-Level ProDisc-L

Here’s an update -

It’s been two years and eight months since my 3-level ProDisc-L surgery by Dr. Bertagnoli. I’m still doing great. I still have the partial numbness that I had in the front of my left leg before the surgery, but continue to work full time as an airline pilot.

I did sprain my left ankle twice while recovering from the spine surgery. I stepped wrong (fell) off a chair, then later missed the last step of our staircase in the dark. My physical therapist tried to address the sprain, but I ended up having ankle surgery in 2017 - same leg as the spine symptoms - OMG! The surgeon said a bone had chipped off. So, I now have artificial ligaments in my left ankle - I’m nearly bionic now.

Back to the ADR recovery, I had my two-year follow-up earlier this year with Dr. Gill at UTSW and sent the X-rays to Germany as usual. Both doctors said everything looks good. My range of motion is normal. I don’t have any instability or pain other than after sitting for a couple of hours, which I think is really my butt hurting and is normal.

Some lingering achiness in my ankle bothers me more than my back does. The numbness down the front of my leg is sometimes annoying if I’m not wearing shorts. But none of this reflects on the success of the ADR surgery.

One thing I can say for sure about recovery from surgery, though - the physical and emotional turmoil of pain medication withdrawal makes me not ever want to need it again. I never abused it and stopped when I didn’t think I needed it, but the following few months were not nice - another topic for another thread.
__________________
2002 - leg symptoms after ice skating lessons
2005 - DDD diagnosis - mainly at L3 - S1 (L1/2 not good either)
X-rays, 2 MRIs, EMG, mylegram/CT scan, discogram/CT scan, 2nd discogram
3 ESIs, nerve root injection, PT, chiropractic, SED at L5/S1 - qualified success
February 9, 1016 - stood up from chair - left leg and pelvis numbness and tingling, moderate lumbar pain
X-rays, MRI, CT scan, discogram/CT scan, mylegram/CT scan
ESI
April 26, 2016 - L3 - S1 3-level ProDisc-L
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