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Allan

Posted by john h on 1/15/02 at 09:42 (070026)

Allan: Concerning your cervical problem go to http://www.bonati.com . This institute has some minimal invasive procedures that seem worth looking at. They conduct seminars around the country which are free and the Doctors will take a look at your MRI and other records at the seminar (at no cost) and give you some sense if there procedures can help you. I had a cervical fusion C4/C5 C5/C6 some 20 years ago (result of being shot down). Bone graft from hip. The procedure was through front of neck and took over 4 hours but was an instant cure and I never have noticed any loss of neck movement and was back to playing basketball,etc within one year. The Bonati institute has developed some procedures for neck,back,knee,carpal tunnel that are mostly done under locals and you are out of hospital in one day. They use miniture instruments, lasers, and do very little cutting through major muscle groups. You can phone them and they can tell you where a seminar near you will be held. I think it is certainly worth a listen. Another institute which is considered World Class is the Texas Back Institute in Plano, TX. They are a cutting edge institute and have recently developed an artifical disc which the FDA is evaluating. You can find them at http://www.texasback.com . I have been there and they are impressive.

Re: Allan

alan k on 1/15/02 at 11:46 (070033)

Thanks John. I've been checking those places out as per your previous posts. I hope you landed in freindly territory.

alan k

Re: Alan

john h on 1/15/02 at 12:07 (070035)

as a matter of fact Alan it was not very friendly at all. Just inside Laos at the DMZ. Pulled out on a hoist under fire with the bad guys right on my heels. What is the problem with your neck Alan? Do you have degenerative disc or a bulging disc? I had some fragments floating around in the spinal canal and when they would lodge against a nerve and it was horrible. I had tingling in my left hand, some shoulder pain and eventually major pain in the neck. As I said, after the surgery I have never again had a problem Last year I had an x-ray and the fusion is one block of bone now. Doctors tell me that cervical fusions are much more successful than low back fusions. Easier to identify the problem. Going in through the front of the neck and sweeping back everything that is there in order to view the cervical spine is a scary thought but that is the way they do it and are very successful. I know one lady and 3 guys who have had this procedure. With your big neck scar you will look like some sort of warrior.

Re: Alan

alan k on 1/16/02 at 08:02 (070161)

I have a degenerative disc, with some protusion on the cervical canal as well. However, the latter has not resulted in symptoms. Instead I have degenerative symptoms on the left side, just like yours: tingling, numbness running down the arm and into the hand, shoulder pain, and neck pain. I am very wary of neck surgery, and hear lots of bad reports about it. Thanks for your good reports! For the time being I will put it off and try various other things first. Some of these things might be relevant to tts, since that is a nerve impingement disorder as well.

I don't care so much about neck rotation or anything really except for the pain, so I might try surgery after all if it seems like it will work.

Glad to hear you were rescued, at least.

alan k

Re: Alan

john h on 1/16/02 at 09:19 (070170)

Alan: I went through conservative treatment for about 6 months which included a device i hung over the door under which i sat. It had a water bag that I could fill to the recommended weight and a strap that fit under my chin and around my head. I would do this for 10-15 minutes a day. The X-rays or myleogram did not show the free fragments floating around so there was no conservative thearpy that was going to work. All of the people I know (5 now) who have had this surgery were completely cured with no complications. It is really much more successful than low back surgery. Most all of us will show degeneration in this area of the neck as wwe age and some people never seem to develop pain even when the disc is almost gone. As you probably know they do nerve conduction test for this problem as there are things that can mimic the symptoms including CTS. Both Neurosurgeons and Orthopedic Surgeons do this procedure, My doctor was an Orthopedic Surgeon (close friend who I knew to be experienced in this procedure). Hope you can avoid surgery but if you do end up with it the only painful part was where they took the bone from my hip. Now that really hurt the next day. My neck was painfree from day one.

Re: Allan

Pamela S on 1/16/02 at 14:24 (070208)

On the artificial disk: They did not develop it at the Texas Back Institute. It was developed in Germany (it's called the SB Charite III lumbar disk prothesis). It is currently in FDA clinical trials at the Texas Back Institute (among other places). I went to Germany and paid out of pocket to have one of these (I had a totally collapsed L5/S1), and I went to a surgeon who has personally done over 700 of these (a Dutchman practicing currently out of a private clinic in Munich called AlphaKlinik).

I am quite pleased with the results. This is definitely better than lumbar fusion. It should be generally available in the U.S. in 2004. Also, the recovery wasn't as bad as I have heard it can be for a fusion.

Re: artificial disks

Pamela S on 1/16/02 at 14:27 (070209)

At the Alpha Klinik, they treat cervical disk problems not with fusion (if it can at all be avoided), but with nucleotomy, not open surgery. It's just something to investigate.

Re: Allan

John h on 1/16/02 at 15:46 (070212)

Pamela: thanks for your clarification. They have a good picutre of the artifical disc on the TBI website. How is the level above your L5/S1? How long did it take for the disc to stabalize so you could resume normal activity?

Re: Allan

John h on 1/16/02 at 15:53 (070213)

The Texas Back site confirmed all you said Pamela. I also noticed that you can see if you qualify to have the artifical disc surgery at Texas Back by completing a form on the website. I wonder if this means it might be 'Free'. The three doctors who have been approved to do the procedure includes Dr. Hockschuler who I had ocassion to talk to. They are currently comparing the results to conventional fusions and as you say the FDA should approve in 2004. This seems like it will be a no brainer to me. Texas Back said compared this to the introduction of the artifical knee and a giant step forward in spinal surgery. How is your back these days?

Re: artificial disk

Pamela S on 1/16/02 at 16:11 (070214)

My back is fairly good these days. Almost immediately after surgery, I got rid of that horrible pain in the L5/S1 disk itself. However, because they insert the artificial disk, and because my other one had collapsed, all of a sudden my back had to get used to the additional disk height. Also, when they implant the disk, it has teeth that have to gradually embed themselves in the bone - simple pure gravity and normal spinal pressure do this. During this 'settling in' period, they ask you not to do anything wild. This period is about 6 weeks (12 weeks, to be conservative). They asked me for normal X-rays at the 12-week-mark, just to see that the disk was implanting as expected and had not come loose). I was permitted to go back to my non-impact workout at 6 weeks; I did alot of walking before that and that helped. There was some nerve irritation that happened after surgery that has since subsided (from the new disk height). The only remaining problem I have is that my right nerve root was crunched for over 2 years, and that nerve root still is a bit irritable when I sit too much. However, it is gradually healing (nerves take along time to heal - I know this because I used to have left nerve root sciatica, and that took a long time to subside (like years), but eventually it did).

I have NOT had to take painkillers since the surgery, and I have MORE flexibility in that part of my back since before the surgery (since they restored normal disk height); also the rest of my lumbar curve is more normal. My L4/L5 disk is fine; my L3/L4 disk is a little degenerated but not herniated. I injured the L5/S1 disk in a fall years ago; I had a lumbar laminectomy/discectomy and the disk healed somewhat but later collapsed and re-herniated and crunched the right nerve root.

Re: artificial disk

john h on 1/17/02 at 10:15 (070261)

I also had the laminectomy and part of the nerve root opening (bone) removed about 20 years ago. Stopped the leg pain but sitting and driving is still very bothersome and pain confined mainly to low back.

Re: artificial disk

Pamela S on 1/17/02 at 14:48 (070289)

Basically you had a laminectomy and foraminectomy. Probably you now have a collapsed disk. The artificial disk would definitely help here (it is really good for just simple disk pain - in fact, that's the best indication), but this is MAJOR surgery - they go through the front and push aside your intestines to get to your spine (same approach as a fusion), and there are risks - if you are male and it is the L5/S1 disk they are going after, you run a chance of getting permanent retrograde ejaculation problems. You might also get (temporarily) some nerve-type problems. Check out http://www.alphaklinik.com - they explain it fairly well there. Also, I doubt if insurance would cover it at all in the U.S., and I think you would end up paying out-of-pocket for the surgery at the Texas Back Institute. Also, from what I heard during the clinical trials, you stand a 33% chance of getting a lumbar fusion instead! I paid out-of-pocket at Alpha Klinik, had no complications, and the whole thing (including EVERYTHING at the clinic) ran me $15,000. Since this isn't even feet-related, if you want to converse about this off-line, I can be reached at (email removed)

Re: Allan

alan k on 1/15/02 at 11:46 (070033)

Thanks John. I've been checking those places out as per your previous posts. I hope you landed in freindly territory.

alan k

Re: Alan

john h on 1/15/02 at 12:07 (070035)

as a matter of fact Alan it was not very friendly at all. Just inside Laos at the DMZ. Pulled out on a hoist under fire with the bad guys right on my heels. What is the problem with your neck Alan? Do you have degenerative disc or a bulging disc? I had some fragments floating around in the spinal canal and when they would lodge against a nerve and it was horrible. I had tingling in my left hand, some shoulder pain and eventually major pain in the neck. As I said, after the surgery I have never again had a problem Last year I had an x-ray and the fusion is one block of bone now. Doctors tell me that cervical fusions are much more successful than low back fusions. Easier to identify the problem. Going in through the front of the neck and sweeping back everything that is there in order to view the cervical spine is a scary thought but that is the way they do it and are very successful. I know one lady and 3 guys who have had this procedure. With your big neck scar you will look like some sort of warrior.

Re: Alan

alan k on 1/16/02 at 08:02 (070161)

I have a degenerative disc, with some protusion on the cervical canal as well. However, the latter has not resulted in symptoms. Instead I have degenerative symptoms on the left side, just like yours: tingling, numbness running down the arm and into the hand, shoulder pain, and neck pain. I am very wary of neck surgery, and hear lots of bad reports about it. Thanks for your good reports! For the time being I will put it off and try various other things first. Some of these things might be relevant to tts, since that is a nerve impingement disorder as well.

I don't care so much about neck rotation or anything really except for the pain, so I might try surgery after all if it seems like it will work.

Glad to hear you were rescued, at least.

alan k

Re: Alan

john h on 1/16/02 at 09:19 (070170)

Alan: I went through conservative treatment for about 6 months which included a device i hung over the door under which i sat. It had a water bag that I could fill to the recommended weight and a strap that fit under my chin and around my head. I would do this for 10-15 minutes a day. The X-rays or myleogram did not show the free fragments floating around so there was no conservative thearpy that was going to work. All of the people I know (5 now) who have had this surgery were completely cured with no complications. It is really much more successful than low back surgery. Most all of us will show degeneration in this area of the neck as wwe age and some people never seem to develop pain even when the disc is almost gone. As you probably know they do nerve conduction test for this problem as there are things that can mimic the symptoms including CTS. Both Neurosurgeons and Orthopedic Surgeons do this procedure, My doctor was an Orthopedic Surgeon (close friend who I knew to be experienced in this procedure). Hope you can avoid surgery but if you do end up with it the only painful part was where they took the bone from my hip. Now that really hurt the next day. My neck was painfree from day one.

Re: Allan

Pamela S on 1/16/02 at 14:24 (070208)

On the artificial disk: They did not develop it at the Texas Back Institute. It was developed in Germany (it's called the SB Charite III lumbar disk prothesis). It is currently in FDA clinical trials at the Texas Back Institute (among other places). I went to Germany and paid out of pocket to have one of these (I had a totally collapsed L5/S1), and I went to a surgeon who has personally done over 700 of these (a Dutchman practicing currently out of a private clinic in Munich called AlphaKlinik).

I am quite pleased with the results. This is definitely better than lumbar fusion. It should be generally available in the U.S. in 2004. Also, the recovery wasn't as bad as I have heard it can be for a fusion.

Re: artificial disks

Pamela S on 1/16/02 at 14:27 (070209)

At the Alpha Klinik, they treat cervical disk problems not with fusion (if it can at all be avoided), but with nucleotomy, not open surgery. It's just something to investigate.

Re: Allan

John h on 1/16/02 at 15:46 (070212)

Pamela: thanks for your clarification. They have a good picutre of the artifical disc on the TBI website. How is the level above your L5/S1? How long did it take for the disc to stabalize so you could resume normal activity?

Re: Allan

John h on 1/16/02 at 15:53 (070213)

The Texas Back site confirmed all you said Pamela. I also noticed that you can see if you qualify to have the artifical disc surgery at Texas Back by completing a form on the website. I wonder if this means it might be 'Free'. The three doctors who have been approved to do the procedure includes Dr. Hockschuler who I had ocassion to talk to. They are currently comparing the results to conventional fusions and as you say the FDA should approve in 2004. This seems like it will be a no brainer to me. Texas Back said compared this to the introduction of the artifical knee and a giant step forward in spinal surgery. How is your back these days?

Re: artificial disk

Pamela S on 1/16/02 at 16:11 (070214)

My back is fairly good these days. Almost immediately after surgery, I got rid of that horrible pain in the L5/S1 disk itself. However, because they insert the artificial disk, and because my other one had collapsed, all of a sudden my back had to get used to the additional disk height. Also, when they implant the disk, it has teeth that have to gradually embed themselves in the bone - simple pure gravity and normal spinal pressure do this. During this 'settling in' period, they ask you not to do anything wild. This period is about 6 weeks (12 weeks, to be conservative). They asked me for normal X-rays at the 12-week-mark, just to see that the disk was implanting as expected and had not come loose). I was permitted to go back to my non-impact workout at 6 weeks; I did alot of walking before that and that helped. There was some nerve irritation that happened after surgery that has since subsided (from the new disk height). The only remaining problem I have is that my right nerve root was crunched for over 2 years, and that nerve root still is a bit irritable when I sit too much. However, it is gradually healing (nerves take along time to heal - I know this because I used to have left nerve root sciatica, and that took a long time to subside (like years), but eventually it did).

I have NOT had to take painkillers since the surgery, and I have MORE flexibility in that part of my back since before the surgery (since they restored normal disk height); also the rest of my lumbar curve is more normal. My L4/L5 disk is fine; my L3/L4 disk is a little degenerated but not herniated. I injured the L5/S1 disk in a fall years ago; I had a lumbar laminectomy/discectomy and the disk healed somewhat but later collapsed and re-herniated and crunched the right nerve root.

Re: artificial disk

john h on 1/17/02 at 10:15 (070261)

I also had the laminectomy and part of the nerve root opening (bone) removed about 20 years ago. Stopped the leg pain but sitting and driving is still very bothersome and pain confined mainly to low back.

Re: artificial disk

Pamela S on 1/17/02 at 14:48 (070289)

Basically you had a laminectomy and foraminectomy. Probably you now have a collapsed disk. The artificial disk would definitely help here (it is really good for just simple disk pain - in fact, that's the best indication), but this is MAJOR surgery - they go through the front and push aside your intestines to get to your spine (same approach as a fusion), and there are risks - if you are male and it is the L5/S1 disk they are going after, you run a chance of getting permanent retrograde ejaculation problems. You might also get (temporarily) some nerve-type problems. Check out http://www.alphaklinik.com - they explain it fairly well there. Also, I doubt if insurance would cover it at all in the U.S., and I think you would end up paying out-of-pocket for the surgery at the Texas Back Institute. Also, from what I heard during the clinical trials, you stand a 33% chance of getting a lumbar fusion instead! I paid out-of-pocket at Alpha Klinik, had no complications, and the whole thing (including EVERYTHING at the clinic) ran me $15,000. Since this isn't even feet-related, if you want to converse about this off-line, I can be reached at (email removed)