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Fusion vs TDR

Hi, Im a 48 yr old active man who has worked as an EMT and been a wakeboarder and motorcycle rider for many years.  I slipped at disc at L4/5 in 2005 and had nerve root blocks and opiates to manage the pain.  I had a Foraminotomy in 2009 and that seemed to resolve the issue.  Things degenerated over time and now I'm faced with surgery for a nerve root decompression at L4 and L5 and my surgeon has offered me a spinal fusion, anterior and posterior.  My question is, should I be considering a total disc replacement?  this isn't a procedure offered in the UK.  I'd really like to hear from people who have had TDR and what the results have been for them.  I'd also like to hear from people who have had fusion.  I'm determined to stay active in waterspouts, surfing, wakeboarding and having an active work life.  I'd just like to be able to move again.  The last 18 months have been hell following an accident, I've been spending 20 hours a day laid down and am taking morphine, codeine, pregabalin and diazepam.  It would be great to hear some stories... thanks in advance...



  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,711

    Welcome 9seven2 to the forum!

    Have you thought about getting a second opinion? I had a fusion over 10 yrs. ago, I was 60 yrs. young. I was able to get back to my normal life, which included riding my Harley and 4 wheeler and gardening. But 5 yrs. later scoliosis set in and my spine deteriorated. But until then, I pretty much did what I wanted to, still being careful not to bend, twist or lift. Surgery of any type is a big decision. Gathering all of the information that you can will be a big benefit.

    While you’re waiting for a reply to your first post, please take a few moments to review the Code of Conduct and FAQ section, located under Forum Tools. There you will find important information about posting in the forum and helpful tips for new members.

    Have you seen the Spinal Fusion Health Center on Spine-health? Spinal fusion surgery comes in many forms, and you’ll find a number of doctor-authored resources here, including Types of Spinal FusionPostoperative Care for Spinal Fusion Surgery, and tips to help Maximize the Ability to Heal After Spine Fusion Surgery. It’s a great resource for anyone considering spinal fusion. I hope you find it helpful.

    Again, welcome to the Veritas Health Forum.
    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

  • Hi and thank you memerainbolt!

    It’s all so much to take onboard.  At 48 I was hoping to get 10 years of good active living before submitting to the inevitable treatments for further degeneration.  

    I’m so tired of the pain and the meds, it affects my cognitive function and stops me riding my Harley for the sake of other road users and my own safety. 

    The literature indicates 7-10 years for both procedures. The TDR isn’t offered routinely in the U.K. so one thing I would be interested in is any reputable sources of information or recommendations for surgeons in the US.  I’m prepared to travel and to pay for the procedure if it’s deemed by the experts to be the right intervention for me.  Our National Health Service in the U.K. have me listed for fusion and I could get the call any time, I’m still as I say, so conflicted.

    Anyway, thank you for welcoming me and please, All readers and members, let me hear your stories and recommendations. 

    Thank you!  

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  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,711

    While you are waiting for other members to reply, for more information, go to the search box at the top right of the page and key in TDR or Fusion. Scroll down past the ads and there will be articles on this subject. You can also get a lot of members experiences in recovering from these surgeries by going to Surgery Buddies and click on June. 

    Per our rules, we are not permitted to give out surgeons names or hospitals. Hopefully with a lot of research, you will be able to find one.
    Keep us posted,

  • 9seven2 - I have no experience with these specific 2 options but was curious after reading your post so I searched this site. If you go to the search box in the upper right corner of this page and type in "Lumbar TDR" and then scroll down past all the ads that pop up, you will see many articles about this very topic. No one on this site will be able to recommend a doctor or a facility for these procedures though. Good luck in your journey!

  • Thanks again guys... will do!

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  • I have had 2 lumbar fusion surgeries, I was able to go back to a fairly normal life after both.


  • Thanks Chip!

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