Fusion Surgery for DDD? Any experience? Any Advice?



  • I’m sorry. I thought you were talking about a cervical fusion. I don’t believe lumbar ADR is approved in the US. 

    Joel: ADR eliminates the need for fusion and bone material and cages etc. 

  • I agree with Challenger here, my personal opinion is that for the vast majority of people fusing a portion of the C-spine is bound to put some extra pressure on the remaining free elements to cause at least a little bit of arthritis pain, etc.  That has certainly been my experience.  Posture and exercise help, and perhaps with time and less motion at those levels due to arthritis and normal disc stiffening it will get better.  If you decide to think about fusion, I would really press your surgeon on how he feels it will impact the overall health of your neck, which levels he's considering including and why, etc.  If you have a lot of degeneration already, you may not be a candidate for ADR but it could still be worth asking about.  

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  • There are several lumbar ADR surgeons in the US and some insurances will reimburse for single level.

  • @timsdeece You are correct.

  • Thank for the replies.  My surgeon still wants to try injections again and a sort of deep tissue electronic stimulation therapy which is new, as I understand it.  My pain is unremitting, but is primarily caused by the almost constant of inflammation in my body, due to my Immune Disorder.  My cervical spine IS a mess, but not to the point that would absolutely indicate surgery.

    Thanks again, ElaineD

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  • You can see my recent post in the Neck Pain section... having an ADR which failed due to facet pain followed by an ACDF has not been great for me.  The pain is less than before surgery but I can't help but feel I would have been better off waiting as I had "only" had the pain for about 6 months and while the C5-6 disc was badly degenerated, the height was still ok so there was still the potential for the disc to collapse to a more stable configuration.  

  • Kpspnap, thanks for answering my dumb ADRa question.  

    ElaineD, my doctors attributed a lot of the post surgical pain I had to inflammation.  Now anytime I discuss my never ending neuropathy like pain in my legs and feet, the word inflammation is tossed around over and over.  I wished my docs were more sure of themselves :)   

     I started taking a natural anti inflammatory supplement called cytoquel which my acupuncturist recommended I try around the same time I started a twice weekly acupuncture regimen. I ran out of it for a week and really noticed an uptick in my pain until I started again. May be placebo, and of course only try what your doctor approves. I have a bottle of turmeric at some point I’ll try in place of the other since it’s a little hard to find. Good luck with the non surgical battle!

  • I had four levels of lumbar fusion done 3.5 years ago. I am fully fused and structurally sound now. BUT..... I have been diagnosed with FBSS. I am in worse pain now than I was prior to the surgery. Different pain though. I feel like I fell on my tailbone really hard, and 24 hours seven days a week I feel like I am going to break in half. Can not sit fo more than 20 minutes at a time, or stand for ten or so minutes. I can never get comfortable unless I lie in the fetal position on my bed with a thick pillow between my legs. I had an SCS implanted, but it does not help this new pain much. If at all. I had to do the surgery because my surgeon said if I didn't that I would be in a wheelchair in the next year or so. If you can avoid fusion surgery you should. Just my opinion based on my personal experience. Hope whatever you choose to do works out the best for you. 


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