GPN Guestbook 2005 Archive

Archive 2004 2006

Current Guestbook.

Lorna   12-28-2005

Hi Lorna again!
Forfot to point out that I had the surgery on 18th February 2005 so am 11 months post-op!! Thanks

Lorna   12-28-2005

Hi everyone!
I am hoping that someone out there can relate to my story and give me some advice! I have had an L5-S1 disc -ectomy with a Maverick prothesis placed. So far i cannot say that the procedure is a success. I have constant sciatic pain in both legs (down to my toes) and strong burning in my back at the disc level. Sometimes I feel like I'm on fire from the waist down! I have a definite increase in my symptoms when I sit down or do any activity including walking for more than about 100 metres.
I am on Lyrica but am finding that none of the narcotic pain relievers do anything so I just use hot packs for the pain. I am a 35 yr old Aussie mum of 4 very young kids and feel like i am stuck on the lounge forever!! When my pain is high the reflexes in my feet dissapear so I am positive that there is a nerve problem even though a myelogram did not show up a trapped nerve. Please help!

Genevieve   12-30-2005

hey guys. its now been two and a half months since my surgery. for those of you that dont know me. i am 25 and needed an artificial disc for my L4L5. well i finially had the surgery. some days i regret it and others i dont. my doctors says that i still have some recovering to go. i had a few setbacks, well i went into the hospital on the day of surgery scared senseless, last thing i remember is thinking in my head that i was going to chicken out, but then i woke up and i was in major pain, surgery was over. the doctors told me that they had a little trouble, that instead of one artificial disc i got two artificial disc and that i lost a but of blood becuase they hit a blood vessel. i was so out of it that i didn;t understand about me getting one extra artificial disc. what had happened was i guess i was born with an extra disc and they didn't see it in xrays becuase it was under my tailbone. anyways my doctor said that when they counted up from my tailbone to where my l4l5 was and they took the disc out and put in the artificial disc in and took xrays to make sure it was in place they realized that they took out the wrong disc. so then they had to take the right one out and put in another. so now i have two charite discs. and instead of staying 3-4 days in the hospital i ended up staying almost two weeks. the first few days after surgery were the worst because i felt like shit and alot had to do with me losing that much blood and one the 4th day my temp. went up to 104 and my stats were dropping and when they tested my blood level it was 7 and a normal person has 12. so they had to give me a blood transfusion. but i woke up feeling alot bette after i got blood. so i started walking with a walker in the hospital and for a few days when i got home and then with a cane and now i am walking fine. the bad news is my right thigh is numb and if i touch it, it sends a horrible pain down it, and my muscles in my lower back are so tight that its really painful and my meds aren't working too well. my doctor isn't a big fan of medication and he wants me off my pain meds now, but i dont see how i can do that considering i feel worse now than i did before surgery. i am taking flexeril which does shit for my tight muscles, hydrocodone, neurontin, and naproxen. i hate that i am on this much meds but i dont see how i cannot take them and the scary part is is that they are hardly working for me anymore. as much as i take it can put a normal person under the table. i hope that some of this info helped some, and if anyone has a questions you can email me at genevievehadeed (at) also if anyone just needs to talk i find that helps alot. thanks genevieve

Clarissa H   12-29-2005

Well this may take a spell to get you to where I am today but its quite a story. I first would like to say Hi, my name is Clarissa and I am a (52) yr old female, and I live in Kansas!
I am also new here on this site and after reading alot of stories I also wanted to contribute my own story.
Let me say I have now had two-back sugeries, for two-herniated disc in the same spot L5/S1. When I was (12) yrs old I was in a bad car accident that left me with a buldging disk and back problems every since and neck pain.
Finally, at the age of (3) my disc herniated in 1998
And the pain was excruciating as it traveled down my spine and hip and left leg to the foot. But, when the disk ruptured it layed on the Sciatic nerve and this was the reason for the severity of the pain. But, before I had found a Doctor to set up an MRI.
I was going to this Doctor who was telling me that he could treat my pain with pain medicine he was shooting into my spine and no more than when I would get home I would end up going to the Hospital ER, because of the pain and getting more pain medicine.
This went on until I couldn't take it anylonger and so after laying in (bed) 3-months and running back and forth to this doctor who was doing me no good I finally found a doctor who would see me and he agreed with me that I needed a MRI. (After telling him about the accident I was in at the age of 12 )
The MRI showed that I had a herniated disc L5/S1 and that it was laying on my Sciatic nerve.
The doctor made me an apt with a (Back-specialist) doctor and after seeing him he set up an apt for surgery to get my pain relieved and fix the herniated disc. I didn't care for him after meeting him except I was in so much pain at the time I just wanted relief and so I had the surgery!
The pain was relieved after the sugery and I was glad about that. Except now I was faced with alot of nerve pain after laying on my sciatic nerve for over three months. And so for the next 6 yrs I have lived with constant pain in my lower lumbar (back) and in my hip and all I have been able to do is light house keeping and dishes if I sat down every few minutes.
After this surgery I had the sciatic nerve pain come back and have been treated with the Epidural Injections two to three different times and this is when I got a different opinion from a different back doctor and but, he said by looking at the MRI and xrays and etc from before that I had alot of scar tissue damage and that he would not perform another back surgery unless it was a half too case as it would leave me unable to ever walk again. Finally in 2004 after returning home one day from church I had decided to lay down as I was hurting bad and I never got back up for 8 long months.
My second story:
This time the pain was worse than it had been in 1998 when I had the sciatic nerve running down my leg.
As I tryed getting up from bed I was thrown backwards on the bed in sever pain that was as if a lighting bolt had struck my veins and went through my body. I would scream out in agonizing pain and when it would calm down a bit I would try again to get up and the same thing happened each time until I was crying uncontrolablly. My (husband) finally said he was calling the ambulance. He looked as if he had never seen anything like how I was carring on. I knew he was frightened!
But, I was out of my mind with pain and worrie.
When the ambulance came they could see they were going to have a time getting me on their cart and into the ambulance before they could give me any kind of pain medicine through the IV' but they had a stretcher (board) and they finally decided that they had to get it under me to lift me up, and I was never so happy when they finally got me into the ambulance about a hour later. Where they could give me mourphene by the IV, it relieved some of the pain.
Let me say this , at the time I never knew my disc had herniated again the very same one L5/S1 and not only herniated but the sciatic nerve was wrapped around the disc and this is what disabilatated me where I could not stand up, or walk, or sit up, for 6 months before they could get me in to have surgery. I was completely disabled and confined to a hospital bed and a wheel chair for going back and forth to the family doctor and the back doctor. So I was left in a hospital bed at home for 6 months waitting on my new back doctor to get me in for surgery. I had gotten this back doctor after having my first back surgery and I had started having sciatic nerve pain again after the surgery as the first back doctor wanted to do surgery again and so I went to get another doctor's opinion in which led to a new back doctor.
Well this back doctor wasn't any good as I began to find out after laying in bed fr 6 long months before finally having sugery.
Again I layed on my sciatic nerve for the second time for over 6 months with the nerve wrapped around my disc.
...Meaning I was in Constant-cruciating pain for 6 months with little of the different kinds of narcodic pain medicines they could give me for the pain I was having 24-hrs a day and still none of it took the pain away, and at one time I was on about 13 different medicines.
I was first sent to a hospital for two weeks when the ambulance came out that day to take me into ER. That was the first stay, after going through another MRI, and xrays, and spinal tap, and Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection.
Some of the medicines I was on was Demerol, morphine, Duragesic patch 100 mcg, Flexeril,Darvocet, percocet, besides my regular medicines for Rheumatoid arthritis,and Inflamatory arthritis, and high blood pressure, prevacid, for Accid Reflux disease, besides having Fibermyalgia, and hiatal hernia.
I was also diagnosed with scoliosis and spinal stenosis.
Believe it or not I was released from this hospital after two weeks because my back doctor would not come to the hospital to see me and so I went home and had to make an apt with him at his office before I could have surgery.
You know how I got to my doctor's apt's since I could not walk, stand, or sit up, for the pain? (My husband had to help me into the wheel chair and get me out to the van and get me inside the back end on the floorboard to lay down while we went to the doctor's office as I would be crying in agonizing pain from trying to sit in the wheel chair from the sciatic nerve pain. This went on for 6 months, might asked why!
Well this back doctor kept making appointments for me to go into his office and then would set up the appointment for the sugery and all the appointments would get canceled and reschedualed. My family doctor had to keep having me come in to see him until one day my sisters from church we're coming over and helping my husband take care of me at home when sis' ann would tell me You know what this is rediculas there is no way a doctor would cancel this many appointments for sugery unless God had His hand in it! This has never been heard of or anyways I have never heard of anything like it before ...I'll tell you what sis' Clarissa if God has His hand in on it your appointment for surgery will be canceled again in the am. I agreed with Sis' Ann, something was terriable wrong. So I told God if this is you God stopping this surgery for whatever reason please let the phone ring and cancel in the morning so I will know! And when the morning came first thing the phone ring'''''hello, this is doctor's (nurse) I am sorry to imform you but we need to reschedule your surgery.
I got a little excited' as now I knew God was in charge and there was some reason He did not want this back doctor to perform this surgery.
Meanwhile I still was in excruciating pain and my life was lifeless to say except I had a God who performs mirracles and I had faith to believe one day this would all be behind me and I would walk again although the doctor said I wouldn't because of the fact I had layed in bed so long and on my sciatic nerve. So one night I had my (husband) load me up in the van and take me to the church although our Pastor always came over and prayed over me and would annoint me with oil, I wanted to get to the church for healing. So he wheeled me in and they all the church people (saints) prayed over me with oil and kept holding on to me as they stood me up several times praying over me. Finally, the days after that some of the women came and prayed over me and with me and told me a little about Faith now one sister said, believe in your healing and start getting up from the bed, and have faith. Getting up and even taking one step is showing faith unto the Lord thy God! And so I did just that a few times even though I didn't know at the time my sciatic nerve was wrapped around my disc. One thing I did know was that I was healed, that very night I had gone to church to be prayed over.
Although my healing didn't come until after about 8 months altogether.
The 6 months before surgery and 2 months longer after surgery.
The back doctor had even let the ambulance bring me in for surgery one day into the hospital and it was even canceled. They sent me back by ambulance home.
Then I got a call by now you can know I was very upset and depressed! My oldest son called me the next day and said his wife had talked to her sister who worked for a Dennist who also perfomed surgeries in the hospital.
I had starting swelling in my face from about three infected teeth and couldn't even get in to get them taken care of because of my situation.
And so he told me after her sister told him about me he got a different back doctor for me and said her would do the surgery on my teeth and have my back surgery done while I am in the hospital and said call and tell her to get the ambulance to take her to the hospital after they set it all up.
Look how fast God was working now, once God is on the scene things fly. It wasn't no time I was in the hospital within a couple days and stayed through both surgeries a total of 3 weeks. I had prayed for this day to come and left everything in God's hands to work out.
Some of the scriptures I would read through out the days and nights were:
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Then there were those about healings that the Lord went about doing when he walked the earth. One was when he died on the cross for our sins' we were healed by his stripes.
So I just kept telling God that I was standing on his Word and his word is truth.
Finally, I had my surgeries on my teeth first and then had to wait for them to heal and infection to be gone before I could have my back sugery but, I got to stay in the hospital the whole three weeks and stay on morphine and etc for pain although nothing really helped the pain.
This new back doctor not only performed back surgeries but brain surgeries as well.
I really liked him from the very first moment I met him. He explained that he did not believe this would of happened to me the second time if the first back doctor had of performed a fusion
So we agreed to go for the Complete bilateral laminectomies L5-S1 with pedicle screw instrumentation and posterolateral fusion L5-S1 with locally harvested autograft and allograft.
The sugery went good, except I could not wear the back brace as I could not stand up because of swelling in my knees from the surgery due to my inflamatory arthritis. My knees were like three times there normal size and so I weasn't taking chances in falling as I have dealt with my arthritis for years.
The nurses were upset that I would not try to get up but they did not understand the reason why. They did help me up to the potty, but that was it thank God my (husband) stayed with me day and night and took care of me even in the hospital. When it came time to be released after three weeks they wanted me to go to a place for a month for Rehabiltation. I refused because I knew I had to have time to let the swelling in my knees go down first before I could be on my legs. I knwe I was healed and I would walk when my swelling would go down and so I decided to go home. My dear husband took care of me day and night!
Also some of the women from church and my one sister unlaw came to help out daily.
I worked with my legs and knees and tryed sitting up on the edge of the bed. Finally when my knees started to go down with the swelling I started working with myself with rehabilitation. It was no fun and was hard to almost learn all over again to stand and walk. I hadn't walked, or stood, or sit up for over 8 months.
But gradually I built up strength and would finally one day walk. I decided then I would go for rehabilitation if the doctor would write me up an order and so I went and the man at the hospital who was going to work with me read everything I had went threw and looked at me and smiled and said, I am sorry, their isn't anything I can do for you. I looked at him and already knew I was a mirracle and God had me rise up and walk and no longer was I confined to a hospital bed. He said no, mam I would not want to touch what ever touched you and brought you this far. He didn't say God' but I knew he knew he was looking at a mirracle.
He said I can tell you this as much as you have gone through and been flat on your back in a bed fr over 6 months you shouldn't be walking. So I smiled and said I know who my healer is and I left!
My MRI of the lumbar spine revealed severe spinal stenosis at L5-S1 with spondylolisthesis and severe degenerative disc disease.
It has been a year now since my second surgery and I am walking, sitting, and standing. I am very blessed to be doing this, although I can't do what I use to. I am very limited in what I can do. And deal with severe pain still today but not sciatic pain. I had to take myself off all the medicines I was on because of my accid reflux disease as I was getting very sick plus I do not want to live on narcodics, because I know my God can do anything if only we will believe and have faith! Yes, I do take pain medicine when I absultely have to but thats like once a month and etc. And the only narcodic meds I do take now is still percocet when I have to no more than once or twice a month.I thank God I am not bed-fast any more and that he got me the back doctor he wanted me to have or where would I be today? Probably a nursing home.
The laminectomy lumbar fusion with screws and rods left me with limitations of turning, bending, stooping, and etc. Such as taking tub baths, I now take showers, I cannot even dry completely off without laying down on the bed. But, I have learned to wait on the Lord! And am thankful for my healing and raising me up out of that bed. Amen!
My only advice is it could be worse, and that we need to turn to God who hears prayers and is a healing God!
My symothy goes out to each of you, I do know what your going through.
God bless, Sis Clarissa

Amy French   2-27-2006

I am looking for information about options other than spinal fusions due to I have Harrington Rods from 22yrs ago and have severe lower back problems. I am fused to L3. I live in Louiville KY. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

Webmaestro   12-28-2005

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Carole Washington   12-26-2005

My 42 year old daughter has a long standing herniated cervical disc problem. She has recurrent attacks during which she experiences neck pain which radiates to one of her arms causing numbness. In the past the problem has been aliviated by traction and steroid injections. Presently she has a recurrence which is not responding to this conservative approach and it appears that she will need surgery. I am interested in finding a top surgeon who specializes in minimally invasive surgical treatment if such treatment exists for this condition. She resides in the State of Virginia and is a nurse with four children.

Carole Washington   12-26-2005

My 42 year old daughter has a long standing herniated cervical disc problem. She has recurrent attacks during which she experiences neck pain which radiates to one of her arms causing numbness. In the past the problem has been aliviated by traction and steroid injections. Presently she has a recurrence which is not responding to this conservative approach and it appears that she will need surgery. I am interested in finding a top surgeon who specializes in minimally invasive surgical treatment if such treatment exists for this condition. She resides in the State of Virginia and is a nurse with four children.

arlie carstens   12-22-2005

i had laminectomy fusion surgury -L-4/5 , s-1 for degenrative disks ... in oct. 2001 , and had all the hardware removed oct. 2003
because of continuing constant high level pain in fusion area . still have to this day . take percocet 10/650 x 4 -daily or pain . will this never end ? ---
would another surgury help ? i am now 62 years old .

Peter Decker   12-21-2005

Lower Back Pain.

Shelley   12-20-2005

again for Kate Tallcot. Where is St. Francis Hospital? Also, did u ever have an IDET and told ur discs were torn?

Shelley   12-20-2005

Hi. Can Kate Tallcot tell us what insurance company approved her surgery and what was her diagnosis please?

Becky Lambert   12-18-2005

Heather , I am 47 and just had surgery last Tuesday, I am doing so well I want to shout it from the rooftops, I had two broken bones from childhood which was causing my back to be unstable and made two discs overlap and pinch the nerve. They had to fix the overlapped damaged disc and put in two bolts to stabilize the spine. I had this done on Tuesday and came home on Wednesday an went estate selling and garage selling on Friday . Email me any questions , I was so nervous about surgery and it was a breeze.I do have to take pain pills every 4 hours but i am functioning normally and can go back to work in three weeks.

Heather   12-17-2005

Hello everyone, i'm new here, good to see other people who can relate... I had 2 level prodisc replacement about six months ago by Dr. Goldstein in Manhattan... Cost me $40,000.00. I will be poor the rest of my life, but i can now walk.. My question is, is anyone else experiencing pain after surgery? I have difficulty standing straight after bending over, and am troubled with stabbing pain that radiates down my leg. Don't get me wrong, it's much better than before, but i find i still need drugs.... Please email me at heathersstimpy (at) Thanks.

J Deese   12-16-2005

The NBC program Three Wishes recently ran a story about a Rhonda who had scoliosis and could not walk. She was operated on by a San Francisco doctor, I assume a neurosurgeon, and can now walk. Is anyone familiar with the Three Wishes show and has any idea who the doctor is?

Barbara Hubbard   12-16-2005

I left a letter my number is 541-956-8994 fax 541-956-8995 I live in Oregon and was hurt on job in California, with open case, and inproper help

Laurie   12-13-2005

I had a spinal fusion 2 years ago and my bone from bone bank was rejected in my body. I noticed the screw was missing which was screwed into the missing bone, where would it of gone? Anyone else ever have this happen? Scared in Michigan.

Kate Tallcot   12-11-2005

Post op 2 Charite artificial discs. L4-5 &L5S1 at St. Francis Hospital. Legs aren't cold Dr.Light said the discs were black liquid? Ever hear of this.

Jessica   12-9-2005

Dr. Rao in Marshfield wisconsin is doing the disc replacement and there is another doctor in Madison doing this procedure.

Janet Rhodes   12-9-2005

I have been trying to get a return phone call from Dr. Zeeger. What is the best way of getting ahold of him?
I have cervical and lumbar disc pain?
If you can give any advice that would be helpful.Thank you.
Janet Rhodes

Mario Moyer   12-8-2004

I have been dealing with sever back problems for the past several years. I have had 4 surgeries this year to solve the problem and will be seeing a neurologist now to see what he can do. I lost feeling in my legs about a month ago again and the ortho docs are confused. I dont take any medication and have to deal with the pain everyday. Not because i dont want to but because I none of the medication that I have taken has ever helped not even the slitlest bit. I am stuck no in a rut and my problems are getting worse does anyone i mean anyone no what i can do or what maybee i should try to do I will take any advice it has been 1 year of complete hell and would like any help I can get.

Kim   12-8-2005

I had the Charite surgery last week, Nov. 30th at L5/S1, one level. I have not taken pain pills since leaving the hospital on Friday. I am only taking Aleve and muscle relaxers per Docs orders. I am thrilled that I have no pain. Absolutely no pain! I know once I start getting out and back to work next month, things may be different, but the recovery, atleast for me, is a breeze. I hope it stays this way. I am walking every day, other than that, just resting. When I can get back to Scuba Diving I know I will be healed! Best to all and thanks to Mark and the ADR support forum or I wouldn't have known what to do.

Jaynie   12-7-2005

Hi. I have a medtronics infusion pump and had a fusion L-5 - S-1 plus hardware removal. I an on pretty low doses per the pump, however the medication isn't working for me at all anymore. I am in so much pain I can't stand it. My life isn't worth a penny. I can't carry out any activities anymore without being in excruciating pain. I have never in my life believed a person could endure such horrible pain and still be alive. I just don't know what to do. It's obvious I need more surgery. I've emailed Germany hospital about the new disc. I don't know if that would be the answer though. I'm still fairly young, 47. I am in excellent shape, except for the back. If anyone has ANY insight, please post it. I am running out of options. Thank You Jaynie

mary   12-6-2005

has anyone had an IDET? Any recommendations? Problems? Does anyone know of a chat room for IDET patients?

Ann M. Wright   12-6-2005

I suffer with a rare disease called Sacordosis. This disease causes joint pains, constant infection in the mouth or areas of the body. Right now I need dental work, in the last 3 weeks I have been in constant pain and find it hard to eat. I went to a dentist and was turned down because of my financial status, and not having dental coverage. I have an infection of the gum and can't afford dental work. This disease can affect any major organs in your body, which is very painful. At times, I can't walk and have problems sleeping. Many times I just have to bare the pain along with taking over the counter pain (cheap) killers. Then the pain is back again. I am disabled and receive Medicare A & B and desperately need help to pay for pain medication. I have prescriptions that has not been filled, because I don't have the money.

I was told if this problem with my gums are not taking care of shortly, it will spread to other parts of my mouth, and I will probably end up losing my teeth.

Jessica   12-4-2005

i was recently told that i would be a good candidate for the disc replacement for my L 4-5. I am 25 a single mother of one 4 1/2 year old boy and i am very scared. does anyone here know of really good websites for more information on this procedure and recovery times and what are people capable of doing after the procedure is over. i have been advised that i will never be able to return to my old job because there is to muchlifting. please help. also anyone who has had this done in wisconsin know of the good Doctors who do this procedure. Thanks

susan   12-3-2005

This is for TJ, I had a three level disectomy&fusion,c3-c7. I went to Dr.Stovall who was Dr.Mignucci's partner in plano,tx. I am still hurting and still going thru pt and pain meds. But, I can look up to the sky now and do not have the numbing in my arms and hands. I was diganosed with radiculopathy,spondylosis,spinal stenosis,and myelopathy. I had no choice but to get it done. I would recomend Dr.Mignucci as he is the absolute best in this area. I would recomend Dr.Stovall but he has recently moved to Austin. He actually was absolutely fabulous. best of luck to you

tj   12-1-2005

I would love to hear from some people about post op pain from recovery room to PT. also did any body suffer any side effects sexualy?

TJ   12-1-2005

Hello everyone,
I am a 23 y\o male who is suffewring daily. I just got back from Plano tx. my doctor says i need a double disk replacement at L4\5, 5\s1. The Cost, 30000 and change. The Doc and nurses told me they were submitting a request to my insurance, which will be denied. She recomended that we hire a lawyer and sue Uninted Health Care into acting. I will keep everyone posted. I wont go into all my problems b\c yall already know and understand. I will talk about what happens with the insurance. if nothing happens, i will be forced to drop off 30000.

Teri- 5 weeks post op Prodisc L4-5   11-30-2005

Hi Mark and everyone,

Well I'm just about 5 weeks post-op and will share my experiences so far. I am off the Percocet for 2 weeks now, however I have had to start taking Clonapam (benzo muscle relaxer) as I still have some very aggravating discomfort after sitting for any period of time. The pain is gone though. Just this really weird feeling of preassure when sitting. Usually is not as bad on the days I go to PT which I started right before T-Day. I am very deconditioned at this point my muscles tire easily and do not strech. I can ride a bike and work out lightly without any major complications. Lastly, the stiches are healing nicely, (I used Neosporin cream for the first 2 weeks and have now switched to Mederma) but have the feeling the muscle underneath is not completely healed yet as there is occasional pain. Can I make the tail end of ski season? I'd really like to because I have'nt been able to ski in years, but I don't want to push it. I see Dr. Goldstein again on Dec. 12 for my 2nd followup and more x-rays. I'd like to know when the bone around the teeth of the disc will have grown in and will the sitting continue to be a problem. Have a good day, all. Teri

Kate/   11-29-2005

Hi,After 6 yrspost op L5S1 left herniation disc repair and L2-L5 lami,resulted in spinal fluid leak repaired Apr 2000,broke loose.Since have been on oxycontin 1 yr(terible)&Kadian(morphine granules)4 yrs,Neurontin,Cymbalta.Still cannot walk over 100' or sit over 5 min.Just approved by Ins.BRMS for 2 levels Charite disc.Anyone had 2 done.They'd approved fusion and DR. Ken Light at St Francis in San Fran CA has had such good success,her prefers the artificial.Not sure of cervical.I am scared 56.Started at age 47,nurse went from hospital to driving to cases.
KateTallcott (at)

Tracy Alberta   11-21-2005


My brother is 24 years old and has severe degenerative disc disease. His surgeon says that he is the perfect candidate for artificial disc replacement, but will not perform the procedure because it is not covered by his insurance company (Blue Cross of Michigan). My brother is on disability and is out of money and will be evicted soon. He has an infant son. He can't wait any longer to do something about his back. Does anyone know when the insurance companies are going to start paying for this procedure?

Dee C.   11-18-2005

Katie, you might paste the following link in your browser and take a look at this... you might be able to contact the TV Station and get further information. and then select the video Back Pain Sufferers Look To Medicine Overseas. According to the news video it cost around $40,000 and the insurance did not cover and of it.

Katie M.   11-15-2005

Hello, my name is Katie Martel I'm 22 yrs. old and have been advised by two neurosurgeons in America that I have to have disk replacement surgery at L1. However after much research I Have found that the disk offered here in America is rated rather poorly and pails with an average of 3 years. So after looking else were I've come across surgeons in Europe who are working with many different disks that have been advance.
I was wondering if any on else has looked into having surgery in Europe or even had it and how much they have found this to cost. I would appreciate any help and hope that you or you loved ones feel better soon.

Linda Massey   11-14-2005

Mark, Please let Dr. Bertagnoli that yesterday was my 6 month anniversary. I had an adr on May 13th in Straubing on the L4-5, and L5-S1 and am doing great. Most of my pain is gone. I am working out everyday and doing pilates which is helping so much. Thanks so much to you for the work you did in May in New York. I attended and met Dr. B before my surgery which was great. The conference was so informative and helpful to me. If I can help you in any way let me know. Linda Massey

Colleen   11-11-2005


I wondering if anyone might know what is happening to me....please?!
I have had 2 spinal fusions at c5-6 (4 years ago)and most recently at c6-7, just this past July. All was going relatively well, so to speak, when I started getting numbness and nerve pain in my right arm again and tremors. I have had an MRI, nerve conduction and muscle testing done in the last week and on Monday was told they think I have early onset Parkinson's Disease!!! I am only 31!What the hell...I'm so sure it is all somehow related to the fusions. But they say no...Has anyone else had tremors in their right arm in addition to ulner nerve pain?
Please help...if anyone has any idea I would love to hear from you.
Colleen234 (at)

Teri   11-11-2005

Jimmy B,

I sent you an email. I'm getting better day by day. You will too. Teri

Jimmy B   11-8-2005

I am happy to see that I am not alone with regards to the fear of having disc replacement surgery. I am a fairly healthy 37 year old male who prior to my back pain was extremely active. I have to young children(also very active) that i want to be able to enjoy. I have decided that the pain was affecting every aspect of my life and so decided to opt for surgery. I will be having the CHARITE disc replacement of the L-5 on Nov 22nd. If anyone out there would like to share their post-opt experience please feel free to e-mail me (jchivers1 (at)

Thank You, and good luck to all that are having the surgery

Teri   11-8-2005

Thanks for the encourgement. I am starting today to just take 1 and half percocets every 4 hours and hopefully next week just 1. Sitting is slowely improving, but I think a big part of that is that the lumbar muscles are very weak from having slouched and not being able to sit like a normal person for years. I am about to go for my 15 minute walk and although I have not started PT yet, I am familier with many streches and strenghtening exercises which I have started doing. I think part of my soreness was coming from my left hip being partly sublexated because the muscles are so weak they can't hold it in place properly. I did some exercises to put the hip back and wallah the soreness improved greatly. I'm starting to do some PT exercised at home. ( I literally spent years in PT and was told at the time that there really was nothing more they could teach me to strenghten or releive my pain) I am however going to officially start back at the PT office next week. I'll keep updating my progress. Teri

greg c   11-7-2005

In my opinion you are doing pretty well. I am 6 months post op and I had a great deal of problems for the first four months. The doctors concluded that the problems were related to swelling combined with a height increase of almost 1/2 inch! Basically, my body was out of whack. As far as the pessimists and naysayers go, I must say, this surgery will be worthless if you don't push (hard) during physical therapy! Our bodies have been diseased for years and have learned how to perform some of the easiest day to day tasks the wrong way. For the next few months you will experience pain and discomfort that may be very discouraging. My advice: get off the pain meds as soon as possible, get into PT and start moving little by little. I used to be a runner, but my surgeon has advised me not to run again (because of my size 6/1, 220). Instead, I've picked up bicycling. 6 months after surgery I can bike about 50 miles on Saturday, go for a 200 mile motorcycle ride on Sunday and still be in work (pain free) Monday morning. Keep up the good work, and STAY POSITIVE!!! (and as always, a little praying never hurt)

greg c   11-7-2005

6 months post op

Teri   11-6-2005

Hi Mark and everyone else,

I had my surgery (Prodisc L4/5) on October 25th at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in NY. I'd like to give an update on how I'm progressing. It's been 12 days. The hospital experience was pretty painful and I was not at all happy with the hydromorphone (I think it's basically methadone) that I was given. I was also release from the hospital with script for this. I stopped taking it immediatly and swithched back to 2 percocet 10/325 with 1mg of Clonapam every 4 hrs. The first 10 days I have had extreme stiffness and soreness in my lower back that was worse then pre-op. The last 2 days however I seem to have taken a turn for the better. I only have stiffness when waking up and during the day I'd say my pain is now 3/10. Also my range of motion seems to be increasing. I can bend backwards for the first time in years. This may not seem like a big deal but I work for the phone company and on the poles you have to lean backwards while wearing a lineman's belt. I still have a decent amount of soreness from the incision which runs from my belly button to about 5 inches down, but I use Neosporin cream everyday to help prevent infection to accelerate the healing process. I have my first followup appointment in 8 days and I sure I will be starting physical therapy after that. I hope it will help me get my strength back ( I do feel as though I've been run over by a truck, very tired alot of the time). I've started to take short walks which I think is helping and slowly starting to sit at the computer for 20 minutes a day. Leaving the hospital and driving in a car as a passenger 5 days later was totally unbearable. Anyone else want to share there post-op condition? I'd like to know how I'm doing. Under, Over or Average Normal pain sensations. Thanks. Teri

Connie   11-5-2005

I am a canidate for lumbar L5/S1 replacement disc surgery. HighMark Blue Shield has rejected paying for.
Does any one know an Insurance Co who will pay or when they may change their minds and pay for this kind of procedure?

Leighan J   11-4-2005

Thanks Mark for taking the time to send me a e- mail.We still have no answer to a cost for this surgery in the U.S. My husband was told by his Dr that he would need one disc replaced now and another replaced in a few years. We have been in contact with Stenum Hospital,they say he can have both discs replaced now for 32,000. They have so many people coming from the U. S. for this surgery that they even offer a package deal! I would really like to hear from anybody that has gone to Stenum Hospital. I would like to know about your experiences with them. My E- mail address is byhisside4ever (at)

Roy R. Rowlands Cervical disc replacement.   11-3-2005

Is there a possibility of a FDA approval for Cervical Disc Replacement in the next six months to a year. I am in pain and need an operation but I don't want to loose mobility. Please respond. I need your help.

Melinda   11-2-2005

I'm 35 yrs old & have ddd & scoliosis of the t-spine. I'm in pain every day & am taking way too many pain pills. I've found lots of info concerning disc replacement for the l-spine & c-spine but nothing on the t-spine. Does anyone know if it can be done on the thorasic spine?

holly wetherholt   11-2-2005

My husband is a candidate for disc replacement surgery, however our insurance company Cigna has denied the surgery due to the inconclusive studies as to its' success. What insurance companies are paying for this surgery?

Leighan J   11-2-2005

Can anybody tell me how much disc replacement surgery runs in the U.S.?I had no problem finding the cost for this surgery in Germany. They post cost and all info on Stenum Hospital web site. We will be paying cash for this surgery and we would really like to how much this could run but we cant seem to get straight answers from anyone in the hospital bis. in this country.If you can help would you please E-mail me at byhisside4ever (at)

Tim Battle   11-1-2005

Hello all back pain suffers and thank you to Mark for providing this forum Since my first posting on Aug 2nd, I have had many people contact me concerning my surgery. September 17th, 2004 4 level Pro-Disc Cervical C 3-4 thru C 6-7 by Dr. Bertagnoli. I am very pleased to say that I am doing very well and have no pain associated with the surgery. I have 100% of the movement of any normal person and all without pain. I can turn my head in excess of 85 degrees left and right and have complete movement up and down. Ear towards shoulder movement is also normal although I have never had this movement measured. I feel nothing foreign within my neck and the headaches that I was once plagued with and experienced daily have been reduced to perhaps a few per month. The severity as well has been reduced from excruciating to what is now managed very easily with a few aspirin or a nice little massage from my wife. I think she prefers to give me the aspirin, although I prefer the massage and tell her that it hurts in my lower back and the pain travels all the way up to the base of my skull. Sometimes the pain even starts as low as my legs but if I ask for this to often I fear she will become suspicious. I wish to keep this our little secret so that if any one here were to talk to my wife; mumms the word. All kidding aside in this area i am much improved.
Unlike many of you, my decision to have surgery was very easy for me. On September 10th and I was diagnosed of sever spinal stenosis. I was told at that time that my spinal cord was being crushed and that the blood supply was already compromised; furthermore, I was told that that my spinal cord was already starting to die and already showed marked atrophy at level C2. My neurologist told me that this was an emergency situation and that I had approximately two weeks before I would be paralyzed.
After I picked my jaw up off of the floor I went home and started to research spinal stenosis and my options I soon realized that the surgeries available to me in the states, (Laminectomy, followed by spinal fusion of five vertebrae) was not conducive to a normal quality of life let alone being able to continue my profession as an airline pilot. After a little more research i was lucky to contact Jim Rider at, who told me that I had only one choice, and that was Dr. Bertagnoli. He wasn’t sure he could do four levels but knew he had done three levels. Jim was gracious enough to contact Dr.Bertagnoli on my behalf and forward my MRI’s to his office in Germany.
I left for Austria the next day, arrived Wednesday evening and was admitted to the hospital on Thursday. I had my operation late Friday morning, September 17th, just one week from my diagnosis. I understand from Dr. Bertagnoli that mine was one of the most difficult operations he has ever done, although to be honest with you I never felt a thing. I was in the recovery room about 6:30 that evening and up and walking by 6:00 the next morning. My recovery was rather uneventful and after spending six days in the hospital I was released and spent the next few days walking around Vienna before my trip back to the states.
I have continued my recovery and after the approval of the of the artificial discs by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) I was able to continue my job as a Captain. At the time of my surgery I was third patient ever to have 4 levels done, and the first in the United States. I am sure that there are now a few more 4 levels and I hope all have been as successful as mine has been.
The one thing that I have learned from this is that if your contemplating this surgery please don’t wait. The longer you wait the more damage your doing to your nervous system. Therefore, chances of having a great result are reduced and the possibility of life long pain is increased. Now I never had any pain associated with my spinal stenosis, and I consider myself very lucky to be breathing let alone flying again. The problem with no pain is that I never knew I had a problem until I was almost paralyzed, but for those of you with pain, this is still your best option and the sooner you get it done the better.
Mark e-mailed me once and asked if I had any pictures and so I have Included a copy of my MRI’s and my post-op X-RAYS below. I'm not sure that they will come across in this guestbook so any one interested in seeing them please email me. I know when I was doing my research it would have helped me a lot to see other MRI's and post-op X-rays, so please feel free to contact me at tsbattle (at) mac .com if you wish and I can get back to you with my MRI's and X-ray's and assist you in contacting Dr. Bertagnoli, or if you just need to chat to someone who has been through it. Thanks and best wishes to all.
Tim Battle
4 level cervical patient
Vienna Austria. Sep.17th 2004


Kim   10-31-2005

I am a 35 yr old woman living in Canada. I have a really bizare list of medical conditions, including, DDD in all lumbar disks, a severe herniation at L4/L5, and closing in fast are L5/S1 and L2/L3.

I also have rheumatoid arthritis, fibromylgia, Irritable Bowel Symdrome w/constipation, TMJ (malformation of jaw joint, causing facial nerve pain). I also have Hypotheroidism.

The severe herniation in L4/L5 has caused sciatica in my right leg. I have been on Morphine for 7 months now, as wel as 7 different meds to control the other conditions.

My neurosurgeon has said that only an Open Discectomy would help, and only with the right sciatic nerve pain. Unfortunately all of my hernations are CENTRALLY located, meaning there is a potential for herniations to each side of each disk. This could mean up to 6 surgeries. What I dont like is the fact a hole is drilled into the vertrebral bones. It has been confirmed to me that this would indeed cause great problems in the future with regards to the Rheum. Arthritis.

Help! I am trying to find out if disk replacement would be a better option, but I would probably have to have all three lumbar disks replaced. Is that done?

Please someone,give me some info. I am slipping deeper into depression and after 5 years of this 24/7 aganozing pain, I just cant take it anymore!

Thanks for any guidance given.

Julie N.   10-31-2005

To Steve: Who did your operation? Did you do it here or overseas?

steve   10-31-2005

dont get an artifical disc, i had the operation in june and i am in more pain than ever.

Julie N.   10-31-2005

Does anyone know if/when Blue Cross will be covering the charite disk replacement procedure? I have DDD at L5/S1 with some degeneration at L4/L5. I am a candidate for both fusion and ADR but have been told Blue Cross PPO will only cover a fusion, even though they did cover several ADR's during the initial trials. Any advice on how to fight them would be appreciated because I only want to do a fusion as the last result. Thank you!

David Adcock   10-30-2005

I have degenerative disc in the cervical region of my spine. I had to have C5-6 and C6-7 fused in Nov 98. For two years I was pain free (no headaches or numbness in the arms). After the two years the headaches slowly ebbed back into my life. The headaches are now 24/7 that range from mild to twinkles stars from hell. It feels like one end of the Golden Gate bridge is resting on my neck. My Doctor prescibes LorTab 7.5 for the pain. When it gets more than I can handle he will prescibe Methylprednisolone (4mg) 21 pack. It is a steriod. It is like taking a trip into space. For roughly two weeks I'm almost pain free. I don't even take asprin during that time. The problem is that he will only let me have the steriod twice a year. Does anyone out there have any knowledge of what stage the approval process is on the artificial cervical disc? Does anyone know how to petition the FDA for a waiver on artificial cervical disc? My email is poppatex (at) Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Have a great day and a better tomorrow.

helen   10-28-2005

hi everyone, just posting a quick hello. i was origanlly going to stenum hospital this past september for a 3 level adr. however, through an act of god i found mark or maybe mark found me and now i am 2 weeks post op and home from germany. i was so lucky ro be able to have pro spine and dr bertagnoli's prform my three level adr. and of course to have mark accompany me to bogen-sstraubing germany. i have not yet posted my complete story but probably will be doing next week. i encourage anybody to check out pro spine and dr. bertagnoli... it was worth it.

Margaret Simpson   10-26-2005

I am in the process of having an ADR on the L4/L5 disc. My doctor is trying to get approval from my healt insurance. I live in Louisians (New Orleans) and have Humana HMO. Can anyone tell me which health insurance companies cover this procedure? I have the option to switch to United Heath Care or Coventry. Please email me at midge123456 (at) Thanks.

Emilee Young   10-25-2005

I have had Artificial Disc Replacement surgery on September 30 2005 on the L5/S1 disc. I have been off work since the 9th of September the pain go to be so bad that all i could do was lay in bed an usually cry. I have taken Lortab 7.5,Skelaxon 800, Ibuprophen 800, what seems like forever. Now since i have had the surgery my back still locks in place sometimes when i bend over. I have consitent pain in my left hip an left leg. But the most noiciable difference i have noticed is that i have needles poking me in the bottom of my feet. I did not have that before surgery. The surgery according to the DR. was a complicated one an took 5hrs to complete. I hope to go back to work in the weeks to come an i have to work because i am a single mom of two boys who depend on me. I am severaly depressed since surgery because i cant really tell that the surgery has changed anything at all. My work will fire me in a heartbeat if they know i have to be off any longer. Im tired of taking pills to live my life but i think that i will have to for the rest of my life because i dont think when i go back to work an be on my feet all day long will make my back feel any better here at home i cant even wash my own dishes. Im terrified I dont want to be on dissability or anything like that im not that type of person.

Shelley   10-25-2005

hi. i have not had the adr surgery because i need it at two levels. i was scheduled for the surgery in dec. 2004 but insurance denied me. for those that have had a single level done and are still in pain. this is what my vasc. surgeon told me. he said u will be in a different kind of pain for awhile. this is because your pelvis has tilted slowly over time with the degenertion of your disc. after surgery, you pelvis is pushed back into place quickly. u will hurt until your pelvis adjusts. hope this helps.

Janet Musselman 10-25-05   10-25-2005

needed informaton on doctor's in Phila area specializing in T10 T11 herniation. Told surgery is the only cure and am very shakey about it. Live in Norristown area.

Deborah East   10-24-2005

interested in information on 5th lumbar disc repacement using charite' disc. Also need Doctors names in DFW area who use J&J Depuy's materials.

Thank you.

carol klemz   10-21-2005

heard about a hospital in Germany that specializes in disc replacement...I'm in U.S. but want experienced doctors and disc replacements here are new. Can you suggest how I might find the best help?

Timothy Harrington   10-21-2005

i have been disabled 15 years with a failed bone graff fusion at L3-4 to S-1 now have other issues and on medicare im left at home taking my pills and in great pain that is increasing each day my legs are numb and feet tingle ,i have had steroid shots to low back with some improvement ,been told i need ADR but no one will do that with medicare for insurenace im left waiting to die ! at 32 i was struck with back pain at work 1990 since then ive been classified as disabled and nothing could have been done ,now that there have been many improvements in spinal surgery ,would i quailify for any of them on medicare ,if not why not i feel i have 20 more years i could work at some level were my failed fusion corrected but if not im ready to go right out and shoot my self dead .had enough turn downs in my life of 47 years please find me some help !!!

shirley 10-20-2005   10-20-2005

I am in constant excruciating pain 24 hours a day and I am currently on muscle relaxers and Percocet 7.5 which only relieves a very small portion of the pain and for a very short period of time. I have had Demerol,Morphine 10 mg. shot, and Dilaudid 6 mg shots. Dilaudid and Morphine relieved the pain the best. I am not repeat NOT a drug addict. I am tired of the pain, since it has been going on 2 years. Its effect on my legs is that I don't have full control of my legs. So I have to see what I can do. Thank you for your

shirley   10-20-2005

I am in constant excruciating pain 24 hours a day and I am currently on muscle relaxers and Percocet 7.5 which only relieves a very small portion of the pain and for a very short period of time. I have had Demerol,Morphine 10 mg. shot, and Dilaudid 6 mg shots. Dilaudid and Morphine relieved the pain the best. I am not repeat NOT a drug addict. I am tired of the pain, since it has been going on 2 years. Its effect on my legs is that I don't have full control of my legs. So I have to see what I can do. Thank you for your time.

Brian   10-19-2005

I had a C6-7 fusion 1.5 years ago. I have been experiencing severe headaches daily for the past year. I was hurt at work in a car accident and have been played by workman's comp. I decided to pay out of my pocket and go to Pennsylvannia for a second opinion. I had several tests done and was told the the three discs above my fusion (C3-4, 4-5 and 5-6) are herniated and are tearing. I was told by the doctor that I was not a candidate for CDR because the FDA guidelines. I am considering going to Europe and have heard that the doctors in Germany are very good.
I'm looking for anyone that can provide me help that had a similar diagnosis as myself and any sound information on the best doctors that can perform multi-level ADR.

Dr. Marc R. Linzer   10-18-2005

My psychiatrist informed me that a Dr. Marc Mintzer will be coming to Phoenix Arizona and I would like to know more about that. I am very interested in your services.

Jill Barger-Earnhardt   10-10-2005

HELP!!In 1997 I suffered a severe injury. A psych patient threw me against a concrete wall, shattering my cervical spine. 5 surgeries later, I live in constant, intractable pain. The pain clinics will no longer attempt injections - I've been referred to as having an 80 yr. old train wreck of a neck. It has cost me not only my health but my life as I once knew it. Pain meds,anti-inflamatories, muscle relaxers, allow me to function but also make me feel even more insane. At 52 I would rather ... I don't want to live this way. 3 disc were removed, I am fused from C2 - C6 and now have a ruptured C7. Can you folks please give me....hope?
Ya'll were highly recommended by a recent patient and friend. Please, help me if possible. Be Blessed

Daryl   10-10-2005

could you please tell me about artificial disc replacement and that you can only have one done per person from the FDA...I am happy for the hope but would like much more info. thanks

Teri   10-9-2005

Geniveve, I'm right with you, I'm scheduled for a Prodisc L4/5 October 25th. I'm nervous too, but more nervous of continuing to live this miserable life. I'll be thinking of you and you have my best wishes.

Vicky   10-8-2005

I had ADR at L5/S1 by Dr Zeegers in Munich 3 weeks ago yesterday. the surgety wen't well with no complications. BUT - I still have a lot of back pain. I could really use some encouragment by hearing from anyone who has had ADR, was still in considerable pain at this stage but later make a good recovery.

Good luck to anyone contemplating ADR and if anyone wants any info about the Alphaklinik I'd be happy to give it.



Genevieve   10-8-2005

this is for rk or anyone that has had ADR. i am having surgery on wed. 10-12-05. i am extremely nervous and scared. i cant sleep and i'm driving myslef crazy. please email me genevievehadeed (at) i would like to know how your surgery went, what can you do now, any pain? i dont understand i have been waiting for this for a long time and now that its 4 days away i want to run away, funny...i need a pepp talk or some advice, just some info.

Jeff Sturgeon   10-6-2005

Kathy Ann Jones - I know 2 awesome spine surgeons that can help you. Please email me at JeffSturgeon2002 (at)

I read your post and think I can direct you to the right doctor. They are located in Dallas as well.

Jeff Sturgeon   10-6-2005

I've looked through this post and found alot of discussions pertaining to Charite and BCBS. I am writing from the providers office. I've done a first level appeal to BCBS of Texas and was denied due to Medical Policy.

Would anyone out there happen to have a appeal letter they can help overturn a Charite denial? I read on the the Charite website BCBS of New Jersey has accepted the Charite disc replacement surgery indicating the Charite is medically appropriate for patients who meet certain criteria based on the FDA-approved indications.

Please email me at JeffSturgeon2002 (at) if you can help.

David webster   10-6-2005

Mark, just wanted to let you know how I am doing. I am back to bowling and bowled a 677 series last night, my back did not hurt at all. I have scheaduled an appointment to see a doctor David Montgomery here in Michigan to see waht he thinks about the facit joint. Keep up the good work Mark, people out there realy need your help.
Dwebster (at)
P.S. if anyone out there would like to find out more about Mark from someone that used his services please e-mail me.

James F Burton   10-5-2005

I have degenerative disc desease and I,m currently in a lot of pain and I am Looking to find out what my best options are

Rick Houghtaling   10-3-2005

Vicky,brbrI couldn't agree more. I recall following my surgery, Dr. Zeegers attending to me around 11:30 pm. He informed me he was operating all day but wanted to see how I was before he went home. I recall him chatting with myself and my brother for 20-30 minutes about everything from my surgery to the sights to see in Munich. He stayed and answered every question we had.brbrAnd the staff, what more can be said? Each one of them seemed to answer my every call. They really made me feel comfortable.brbrRickbrrjhoughtaling (at)

Vicky Joseph   10-1-2005

msg for bshire in response to yr msg posted 9-20-2005.
Dr Zeegers operated on me (one level ADR) at the Alphaklinik just 2 weeks ago. I am amazed that you found the staff there rude and unhelpful. I have now been 4 times to the AK (had unsuccessful decompression and abrasion in April) and have found everyone to be unfailingly charming and helpful at all times. Zeegers may have a rather 'unusual' bedside manner but he is extremely kind and caring. He even came specially early to Munich and opened up the AK for me after hours to do a discography so that I could catch my flight home in time.
During my stay in hospital I found the same - everyone helpful and caring. I couldn't recommend the AK highly enough. I know noting about the other drs you mention but the most important factor for a successful outcome is the experience of the surgeon and Zeegers is one of the best. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss further.
vickyjoseph99 (at)

rohlat ramsbottom   9-29-2005

I am 39 years old. I have this pain for the past 7 years. the past year the pain has increased severly. After all the process I have been going through and theorapy and shots etc.. I have decided to go for the disc replacement. I have a great dr. Dr. Marcavicia.. I'm going for a second opinion. I know deep inside that there is no other way but the surgery. I have pain 24 7. I have to do soon. I would like to know if any had the operation and what is the result.

Jo Anne   9-27-2005

Does anyone out there have a positive experience in disc replacement? My problem is L4, L5 and S1 at firts it was thought to be only two disc. But, when I went for the discogram it showed three. My doctor is here in Calif. I have heard from many that he is the best. Monday, I have my surgical consultation with him. I hope he has good advice for me. We are talking about disc replacement. Not fussion. I am hopping that the Lord will help in my decission. I am an active person whom has to slow down the past 6 month.

Elizabeth   9-26-2005

If anyone has had success in getting their insurance company to pay for spinal surgery in Europe I would appreciate it if you would contact me. Also, I would like to find out who the top ADR/spinal deformity surgeons are in Europe, and would appreciate referrals. Thank you. mayeselizabeth (at)

Mike   9-26-2005

I'm scheduled for ADR using a Kineflex C for DDD in C5/C6. Does anyone out there have info or comments (of a Kineflex implant) regarding this.

Randy Lewis   9-24-2005

Glad to have found this site. I am suffering from cerv.disc degenaration. will keep anyone who wants to read more about this I will update this as my treatment is ongoing. R PHX,AZ

MD   9-22-2005

Does anybody know when and where the next GPN event will be?

Kathy Ann Jones   9-20-2005

Kathy 9-20-2005
To anyone who cares:
My spine is fused at L5-S1. The surgery was done in Jan. 1997 at Prespyterian hospital in Plano, TX by a Doctor from the Texas Back Institute. Bone was harvested from my hip, then put into 2 of the titaniam cages. The surgeon went in through my abdomen and screwed the cages into my spine. My life was a living hell of pain before my surgery. I went to a Chriopractor who kept promising that he could help me until my insurance ran out, then he told me that I should get an MRI and find a back doctor. I was willing to do any thing to get just a little relief from my pain. After the surgery, my pain is even worse. I take 8 pain pills a day, and still I suffer. If my eyes are open, I am in pain. When it was time for my one year check up from the surgery, that Doctor's office would not allow me to make an appointment. They told me that my insurance was no longer on their network. I called MANY, MANY doctors in the Dallas area that were on my network, but because I had already had surgery, no one would see me. Finally, my family Doctor was able to get me in to see the top neuro surgeon at Baylor hospital in Dallas. After 3 MRI's, a cat scan, myleogram, and discogram, the Baylor surgeon told me that he would have NEVER installed those cages. He also refused to take them out. He didn't believe it would help. He told me to be glad that I had a family Doctor that was willing to prescribe pain medication to me. Two different times I have tried to get up the nerve to put myself out of my misery. I work because I have to have insurance to help pay my monthly doctor bills and my medication. I take paxil for depression and oxycontin and Lortab for pain. There is no way I could afford my pain meds if I didn't work. If I could do what I actually feel like doing, I would go to bed and lay on ice packs until I die. My Aunt knows a lady who is an MD, MPH and assistant professor of neurology. This kind lady doctor directed me to this website just today. Today I have felt a little ray of hope for the first time in many years. If there is anyone out there who have had their spine fused with these cages, and then removed, Please post a msg. and let me know your results. Also, I would like to know the name of a doctor who has removed cages. I can feel the cages, and I believe that getting them removed would give me some relief. I also believe the cages may be screwed into a nerve. My pain feels like having a wisdom tooth pulled, then taking that pain and putting it into a vice grip, then squeezing it. I can't imigine what life would be like if my pain was just cut in half!!

bshire   9-20-2005

hey there out there. i have sent my med. records out to 2 clinics in Germany for review (ADR) i have heard things about ALPHAKLINIK, Clinic international and Stenum in Bremin. i decided to send to Stenum and Clinic after hearing too much questioning info about alpha. i emailed their staff there, and although they may be extremely busy, was just astounded as to how rude and unhelpful they were. i know that Zeegers has worked wonders for many, but i have heard that Ritter-Lang and Metz-stavenhagen also have done the same for many patients. really just wondering if anyone has any experience with these doctors. not rumors, real experience, either personally, or someone you know . this would be helpful. thankyou bshire

MArvin Crowe   9-17-2005

Hello Doctors,

I have advanced degenerative disc, a can barely carry my own weight(225lbs), cages at L3&L4. I live in extreme pain that has beacome worse after installation of cages. T3 causes stabbing pain.

I have heard that if you have cages your not a canidate for artificial discs. Is this true or is there hope to regain quality of life?

Thank you for your time & response,
Marv Crowe II

Plastic surgery on car crash victims   9-16-2005

Hy , i am a student that is making a presentation about plastic surgery do u know any true story about someone that had a car crash and had plastic surgery , i want to know his/her opinion

Genevieve   9-14-2005

hi everyone. there was some questions about my last post. there is a study happening now with a company called spinal motion. what they are doing is trying to get their disc passed by the FDA. they are paying for the surgery. the study exactly is that they are comparing two discs, disc A-charite disc (which is already passed by the fda) and disc B-kineflex (is not yet passed yet). you will not know which disc you get till after the surgery. my doctor said that the discs are very similar and they have been using both discs in europe for a while, even kineflex has been used there also for a while. so thats it. if you guys have anymore questions you can email me at genevievehadeed (at)

colleen   9-13-2005

I am 31 years old and have had 2 c spine fusions. I now have C567 fused after the first one completely ruptured and the second one(10 weeks ago) herniated internally compressing my spine causeing mass nerve damage and required an emergency fusion . I am terrified that this isn't going to be the last surgury. And that I am going to keep ending up back in the hospital. I don't think I want anoter fusion...but am atempting to research disk replacement . If anyone has a story to tell..good or bad , or info to share it wuld be much appreciated. THANKS!

dr. D. Basch   9-13-2005

looking for codes to use when doing a disk replacement of the L5-S1

sharon kates, practice admin

Eileen D   9-10-2005

I've noticed that several people have traveled to Europe for their ADR's. I have 3 herniated cervical discs compressing the cord. Only one is symptomatic and it's caused problems for my right arm. Unfortunately, all of the clinical trials here in the states are for single level only so I wouldn't be considered. The surgeon came up with the cookie cutter solution of fusion. I'm so against that and I'm looking into all of my options. I'm considering going to Europe, but the cost is a consideration. Would somebody please give me a ball park figure on what this would cost? Any help that you can give me would be appreciated. Thanks! Eileen
IrishEi55 (at)

Rhonda   9-4-2005

I am 49 years old. The T9 & T10 disc flattened my spinal cord. I had thorasic disc surgery on T9 & T10, May 25, 2005. The surgeon went in on my left side, took out a rib and deflated one of my lungs. I thought I was going to die. This is the worst surgery I have every experienced. I am in more pain now than I have ever been. Has anyone else had this surgery and will you let me know how you are doing? Thank you. Rhonda frankepierce2010 (at)

Mike   8-30-2005

I am 29 years and have been diagnosed with a herniated disc at L5-S1 and DDD at three levels.I am active duty military and am possibly up for a medical seperation board which is what I DO NOT WANT!
I have had MRI after MRI, several Xrays, a CT Myleogram which was followed by a post Myleogram headache and a Discogram to confirm this. I have also completed physical therapy and two series of epidural injections with no success. I have severe leg pain that still radiates down the back of both of my legs along with pain in my lower lumbar area from the degenerated discs. My doctors tell me that I need surgery, but they can't decide which surgery suits my needs more. Fusion at the L5-S1 level or ADR. I do not want spinal fusion due to the horror stories that I hear. They also mentioned micro-lumbar discectomy ; however I was told by a neurosurgeon that , that type of procedure is not reccomended when DDD is present , because of the un-healthy state of the discs.
Has anyone else heard the same comment about the discectomy not being able to be performed when DDD is an issue? Also , for those of you who have already had the ADR, what type of success rate have you had and how long did it take you to get back to a somewhat normal life, after surgery.

John Doe   8-30-2005

I am 23 years old and I am a nursing student a a local community college. I ruptured two lumbar disks when I lifted a cement bag under a very low ceilling and four cervical disks in my neck at the age of 18. Now I'm in pain occasionally. However, I cant run or swim for a long time ortherwise I will experience moderate sciatica. I could tolerate the pain, buy I just had a second rupture in my lumbar spine and it hurts a little more. I'm terrified that I will get another rupture that will put me out permanently. Have young patients as my self had good results with ADR? I know I will need surgery in the future, But I dont know if I should wait longer or do it now before it gets worse. I have beeen to doctors but they tell me diffrent things. br

Rick Houghtaling   8-30-2005

Jamiel,brbrI would say that depending on the length of time you spent needing a new disc, you may very well be in pain and will be a few more weeks. I had 2 discs put in back in November and although I was able to go back to work 2 weeks later, my front (and back) hurt like Hell because my body wasn't used to my new spine. The ADR made me 1 1/4 taller and so, the nerves, etc were killing me for quite some time. It went away over time and now I have a pretty normal life although my back (yours won't be either) will never be 100%. But I can now live a normal life.

Jamiel   8-29-2005

I had a disk replacement on 8/04/05 and I am in horrible pain. br

Jaime   8-28-2005

Genevieve, I just realized that I called NYU about the Pro Disc trial, not Charite. I thought Charite was approved by the FDA and no longer in trial status? Sorry for the confusion. Any information you can send me on the trial you are participating in would be so greatly appreciated. Thanks again! jaime_4028 (at)

Jaime   8-28-2005

Geneivieve, where are you getting the trial procedure done? I called NYU about the Charite trial there and I was told that it was still going to cost 50K. Did you contact Spinal Motion or a physician? You can email me at jaime_4028 (at) Thanks!

Genevieve   8-27-2005

Good News!!! There is a trial study happening for ADR with charite and kineflex. i am taking part in it. it might solve some of your problems because spinal motion is picking up the bill if you participate. ask your doctor people. it might solve the insurance battles. good luck.

bill signorile   8-26-2005


dawn   8-24-2005

i had L5 fusion only 1 year a go and am in more pain in the last four mo. am now thinking about a disc replacment but i am overwight. has some had this surgery.

john   8-24-2005


luis corrales   8-23-2005

I had a back surgery (fusion L4-5 ), 3 years later pain was worse, now not even able to do anything at all.
Looking for a disk replacement, does anyone here had this kind of surgery ?, please give your impresions.
Thanks a lot.

christine strazzi   8-23-2005

I had three back surgeries and on lots of pain meds and coouls not do anything. I had found a doctor in nyc and he did adr in april, by may I had to take almost no pain meds. I am now 3 months post op and am on no pain meds. What a wonderful surgery. I am going back to a gym in september and regaining my life thank you dr.Bitan I love you for helping me get my life back. I am waiting because I need two discs in my neck done. Waiting for the multi level adr.

Don Canada   8-22-2005

I have a co worker that needs L4 and L5 disc replaced.It is my understanding that the FDA will not allow multidisc replacement yet but have heard that BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD may be allowing paitients to have surgery in London or maybe even Germany.Please contact me if you know anything about BCBS having taken part in anyone flying over seas to have multidisc surgery.

Renee / Artificial Disc Implantation   8-22-2005

I have Blue Cross Blue Shield - Federal insurance. Would like to get information from doctors/hopitals who have worked with BCBS Worldwide coverage to discuss surgery options.

Richard Venne   8-20-2005

I have had severe abdominal pain for 8
pains. I can't walk, take methadone, duragesic patch, 2 spinal cord stimulators, 2 operations in Germany for removal of adhesions(prior surgery)
and the anethesiologists have run out
of options.I'm laying on a couch or bed
85% of the day. Do you have any suggestions? Thank You Richard Venne

annette p   8-17-2005

Hi all - anyone know of doctors doing ADR in Seattle. And any progress with changing the insurance designation of experimental/investigatory for this procedure?

LORI D.   8-16-2005

my husband needs L5 replacement. we are in the beginning stages. any hints on getting blue cross approval? also anyone who has had it, all research says a 12 week recovery (vs. 6 mos for fusion), but how long till you were mobile?? thanks- you can email us at davisjunkmail (at) we are in colorado, so any info pertinent would be greatly appreciated!! lori and steve

Marieta   8-15-2005

I have a fusion at L4-5 and now have a ruptured disc at L3-4. I will not get another fusion and want to know if there is anywhere in the world that does the ADR for a reasonable price. I cannot afford $10-20 thousand dollars but I also cannot walk, sleep or work at my desk. If anyone knows of a cheaper solution please let me know ASAP. Thanks

Shelley   8-13-2005

Hi. My first time posting. Has anyone petitioned the fda for an exemption? Does anyone know how to do it? Also, is anyone getting reimbursed for the Germany surgery by insurance yet? I need 2 level adr.

Veronica   8-12-2005

Helen, I was going to Stenum until I found too many patients with serious complications. I am still trying to decide what to do, but I know that I will not go to Stenum. Please do more research before you decide where to go.


helen   8-12-2005

hi i just found this web site and will be heading to stenum hospital in germany for a 3 level aadr surgery. i saw the initials md and wanted to let you know that where i'm headed. check it out.

Melissa Block   8-12-2005

I have been suffering from back pain and my doctor recommends the ADR surgery but Blue Cross keeps denying me. Can anyone help me with writing a 3rd appeal letter and any pertinent information that will help me get my case approved?

garyC-adrsupport   8-10-2005

3yrs post op with 2 prodisc implants,i'm in the trials here in the US.had DDD for almost 30yrs@ L4-S1.Now I drive a stick shift car, golf, and subbed for a friend on his bowling team this past week,WOW is all i can say, it's been an amazingly fantastic trip so far. I'm going to the Colorado River this summer on a water skiing trip, no back pain meds at all anymore, {:--)

KPS   8-10-2005

I am a 26 yr.old female and have already undergone a L4-L5 microdiscetomy (Oct. '03) for a herniated disc along with a fragment. Though the surgery relieved some of my leg pain, my flexion is less than 15 degrees. My wonderful neurosurgeon at CPMC in San Francisco suggested that I would be a great candidate for the ADR. I had a second opinion at UCSF and they ordered a discogram. I'm having the discogram in a couple of weeks and am nervous because I've heard that it's pretty painful. I'm also nervous about the results and the decision to have another surgery or not. I want a normal life back and to be able to do the things that I use to. I also want to know if there is anybody who has had an ADR and then had children. I don't have kids yet but would like to in the next couple of years. Can anyone speak about the discogram and going through pregnancy, birth, daily life, etc. after an ADR? Thank you and good luck to you all!!

rk   8-10-2005

This is for Genevieve. I just had ADR done by Dr. Richard Holt in Louisville, KY and I have Blue Cross. Do an MSN search for Dr. Richard Holt at Spine Surgery in Louisville, KY.

Robert Kennedy   8-10-2005

I just recently had artificial disc replacement surgery and I was curious as to whether there are any other American soldiers that have had this surgery that are still in the military.

MD   8-10-2005

Has anyone heard of Stenum Hospital, in Germany? They've done 1000 ADR operations to date. I'm wondering who's the best to see in Europe, besides Zeegers, that is.

Genevieve   8-8-2005

I really need ADR surgery and my stupid insurance agency is saying its too experimental, blue cross. It's really horrible i have been in unbelievable pain for the last year and i need help finding somewhere to do my surgery, where its not going to cost an arm and a leg. what do i do? i cant be in this pain for much longer. help...

Johnny G   8-6-2005

Any Doctors with ADR experience close to Birmingham Alabama----tried everything fusion does not sound good---but I got to odo something. Probably a mute point if I can'tget Blue Cross to cover..---thanks!

David Webster   8-3-2005

Dear Mark I wanted to thank you for helping me get my life back!! After my surgery on May 13'th of 05 I have received my life back! I have not replied sooner because I have been busy doing the things I have not been able to do in years, I have not felt this good in 20 years. Your recommendations to go to Dr. Bertagnoli were wonderful. How do you ever repay someone for saving your life. Mark I have told everyone that has had bad back problems about you and that has been a lot of people. there are a lot of people that have not found out about this and I think you are the best place for anyone to start. Again I wish I could repay if I can do anything for you please let me know, if any one would like to talk to me personaly Please give them my information.

( I was supossed to have a two level ADR but S1-L5 was so bad it had to be fused and a Prodisk was placed in L5-L4, surgery was 6 hours he said I was one of the hardest cases he has ever done.)

Tim Battle   8-2-2005

Hello all, and Jean-Pierre Trebot. I had 4 level, cervical disc adr surgery C3-4, C4-5, C5-6, C6-7 Sep 17 th 2004. As of April 2005 I was the third such case ever and the only patient in the United States with artificial 4 discs. You have only one choice and that would be Dr. Bertagnoli in Germany. To my knowledge the only Dr. doing 4 disks. e-mail me at and I can help you get set up to see him. Tim Battle
ps. Results: Excellent! No pain !!! 100% movement of my neck including 85 degrees turn left and right and full flexion and extention up and down. 4 level cervical Pro Disc surgery due to severe spinal stenosis. Cost at time @ 39,000 euro. approx. 50,000 US dollars. One week in an excellent Vienna Hospital. On my feet and walking around in 12 hours. Best money I ever spent!

Jaime   8-1-2005

My father just received his official denial for insurance approval of disc replacement surgery. He's been living on pain meds since he was in a wreck eight years ago that destroyed one of his discs. He has BlueCross BlueShield. It took them three months just to give an official denial after they sent him a letter saying he was approved for the hospital stay, just not the surgery. Go figure. My father took the denial letter to his claims rep at work and the guy told him he didn't know what to do with it or how to file an appeal. Can anyone help us out on trying to figure out how to go about appealing the decision since it seems we're going to have to take care of it on our own???? I would appreciate any comments or suggestions, please email me at

Shelley Ellis   7-30-2005

Hi. this is my first time to leave a message. i have been reading for about 2 months. my insurance denied my 2 level adr surgery twice now. this pain and the drugs rule my life. my life pretty much stinks right now. has anyone found out from the fda about how to go about petitioning the fda for an exemption for the 2 level? or how about for a compassionate exemption? i've been dealing with this lbp since 1996 and boy-o-boy, IVE HAD ENOUGH!! please any info would be greatly appreciated. thanks.

ADR   7-30-2005

Had ADR in Germany 3 months ago HALLELUJA!!!!No more drugs and although I am in PT 3 times a week I am pretty much out of chronic pain and able to lead a normal life . Any other ADR patients US or forgien go thru a successful appeal. I neeed some help. Please email me at


We are looking for doctors in Hawaii (oahu) that perform artificial disc surgery. My husband has been in severe pain in his lower back for years and lives on pain killers. The pain has gotten progressively worst where it is now running down his leg, sometimes causing numbness and falling. The doctors want to operate however, we've been reading about endoscopic surgery where they insert an artificial disc in the spine. The success rate seems promising and we would like to look into something like this before agreeing to do invasive surgery to his spine. We would appreciate your comments. Also, has the insurance companies approved this procedure?

Jean-Pierre Trebot   7-28-2005

My wife has four herniated discs. What are the possibilities?

Brenda S. Milam   7-26-2005

My husband is 42 and has been told by Doctors in Houston, Texas that there is nothing they can do for his back. The last Doctor said the bottom seven disc are basically gone. He is in horrific pain, 24/7. He lives on meds. We don't know what else to do or where to turn........but, we continue to pray.
Has anyone heard of 5-7 level fusions?
He has already had two disc in his neck fused and surgery on his lower back where they shaved the disc so it would not rub the nerve. Any information will be greatly appreciated.

Karen L.   7-26-2005

Told I need fuson at L-4&L-5,L-5&S-1. Trying to find out if anyone in Wisconsin does the Disc replacement surgery.

Ron Fuller   7-23-2005

Looking for a physiotherapy center with a pool in Vienna Austria (near the Medical University) that I could use to teach an aquatic physiotherapy course in Feb.'06. Will trade free attendance for staff in exchange for use of pool for 4 to 6 hours (one day).
Please let me know as soon as possible so that I can make arrangements.
Thank you. Ron Fuller

Rick in SD   7-21-2005

Has anyone heard of a brand new procedure where they do a MRI of the brain and it can locate where pain originates in the body??? A friend said they heard about it on MPR News radio.

greg c   7-21-2005

12 weeks post op from an L4-5 Charite (artificial disc) replacement. All pre-surgery back pain is gone. I'm still experiencing a bit of leg/foot pain which resulted from the surgery (nerves were stretched and irritated). I take neurontin and indocen along with acupuncture to keep this pain at bay. I am able to bicycle 6-10 running yet. One recomendation to pre-surgery folks. Give acupuncture a try. I never tried it prior to surgery, but it seems to help my irritated nerve post surgery. As always I can be reached at with any questions. Please title the email ADR or DISC REPLACEMENT.

Smart in KY   7-18-2005

TC, would you contact me off list through this email address smart (AT)

bill signorile   7-15-2005

its been 5 months since adr 2levels for me on feb 9 2005 a little better now but cant run more then a few yards yet .but have hope of running and playing ball and ice hockey again fdny team but want to set up a gourp of us in nyc and long island to meet and talk a support group and to talk about each of us is doing better or worst if interrested email me at

Mark S   7-14-2005

Hi All,

Anyone know the status of FDA approval on ProDisc?
Take care...

Rick M.   7-13-2005

Hi everyone. I just found out about this site this evening from a wonderful person named Lori who posts on here.
I wonder if anyone could offer any advise: I am a 38 year old man who had 2 back surgeries: A Titanium cage fusion at L5-S1 and I suffer everyday with pain. Could anyone offer any advise?
I hope everyone on here finds some sort of way to help recover from your pain.
Thank you all.

Mark S   7-13-2005

Hi All, Any update on ProDisc? I just received the word (but have been felling it for years) I have DDD and herniations in L3-4 (moderate), L4-5 (large w/ a peice of the disk that broke off and is still in there) and severe stenosis in L5-S1. I'm going to go the standard course, therapy, epidurals, etc... but would like to learn more about ADR's.
Take care to all and good luck!

Mel Olson   7-13-2005

I had the micro lumbar diskectomy and it was the best thing I ever did. I woke up from the surgery and the pain I lived with for so long was gone. Fantastick.

Jenny Kellar   7-7-2005

My name is Jenny an I fell at work injuring my lower back and sacerum almost 2 years ago. I've been through all the epidurals, therapy and tried the IDET. None was a success. I still have shooting pain down my right leg. The only relief I get is when I am in a swimming pool. My doctor wants to do a micro lumbar diskectomy on me. Has anyone had this surgery before? I just don't want to go through another procedure and it don't work. I feel like i'm going crazy with pain. I've been stuck in a house for 2 years cause I can barely walk. Can someone please help me out...Thanks

david cris   7-6-2005

looking for a doctor for two level disc replacement and 1level fusion do you have any good doctors . Ilive in nj and have seen both dr.antanocci and dr fabin

Dick Barrows   7-1-2005

I would like to participate in the Charite disc surgery in Oregon. Can anyone direct me to a Doctor or hospital participating in this surgery?

Steve M   7-1-2005

Has anyone here used Global Patient Network services...if so can you give me some feedback?
I'm 46 and looking at a fusion or ADR.
Thank you

greg c   6-29-2005

WRAMC, DR Kuklo, what are they telling you? They have been shoveling me a big dose of we think the nerves are simply overstretched my personal email is should chat...if you email me, title it ADR Complication

Diane B   6-28-2005

Greg C,

I had the same surger yat WRAMC and I still hav ankle and leg pai nas well. Did you have yours at Bethesda or WRAMC???

Greg C   6-27-2005

I am a 32 year old active duty military member. On 4 may 05 I received the Charite' disc after suffering from LBP for 6+ years. 2 months post-op my back pain is gone, but I am experiencing a great deal of pain in my left foot/ankle. Doctors feel that when they performed the surgery (anterior entry) nerves were overextended and extremely irritated and thus causing me this pain. I can post updates or answer questions as I progress.



glenn hurley   6-21-2005

I'm looking for doctors that do disc replacement. I live in cordova Tn. I would also like to enter into a stuty program. Thanksbr Glenn


mjh   6-21-2005

does anyone know if Chrissy Galeana and her surgery are doing well? She posted a message saying she got approved for surgery on 5-18-05 and I was wondering if she is doing better. Thanks

blonde   6-16-2005

my mom is considering get her neck fused. The doctors want to fuse 4,5,6and 7 in her neck.this was caused from trauma. what I want to know is the procedure and the after effects of this surgery. Actually I want to find out as much as possible. So, I know its alot of information, so can you tell me where I can find this onformation on-line. Really any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

Rosalie   6-11-2005

I have a herniated disc in my neck between C6-7. I would like to consider a cervical endoscopic discectomy instead of a fusion. Any comments on this procedure would be appreciated. Also, who is the best surgeon in the country to perform this type of surgery.

TC   6-11-2005

Dear Sirs,

I have always been a very active dancer. I began dancing at the age of three. I got a scholarship and got my M.F.A. at Texas Christian University. Shortly after that I was in two car wrecks. I have been desparatly seeking a doctor who will take a chance on me, and understand that I need my livelyhood back, dance. Please, will someone at least entertain the idea of helping me?

I am now a disabled dancer. Those two words do not go together. I need compasion and determination from a doctor. To many just do not seem to understand that the life of a dancer is as important as a football players, except we don't make the money.

Please repond with at least some ideas.

Thanks for your time.


Bpierce   6-8-2005

does anyone know the CPT codes and length of hospital stay if any or costs for the ADR?

Michael J   6-7-2005

A couple of weeks ago, in the evening a network showed a story about a military man that sustained a neck injury. He was facing discharge. The report said that he have an artificial cervical disc replacement. It said that he healed within weaks and was able to back to full duty.

Does anyone know of this story. I am in need of surgery and would prefer the artificial replacement rather than a fusion.

APRIL CANADY   6-2-2005

Just wondering if there is an artificial double disc clinical trial going on....Presently I am about to have a double fusion of L4/L5,SI... and would really like the artificial maybe. Hope someone will contact me ASAP..consult w/neurosurgeon 6-7-05...Thanks April

Janice Keller   5-28-2005

lumber disk diease and spondylolisthesis grade 2 lumber spondtlis slip disk with broken ring

Dan D   5-27-2005


Just a note to thank you for the NY conference. I learned a lot and enjoyed meeting you and your wife. Her presentation really touched me. Meeting other patients at the conference really brought home to me, at a gut level, the value of the service you're providing.

I'm tied up till September but would be happy to help out after that if there's a need.


ruth wade   5-26-2005

My husband has been told by his neurosurgeon that he is a perfect candidate for artifical disc surgery. No one in Baton Rouge or New Orleans, LA are doing this surgical technique. Where is one in Texas that has had success?

Paul-- Pablocruise   5-25-2005

Lot's of good Q&A at You can find a lot of good people there to help or relate with most of our back issues... Hope to see you there. :-)

bill pac   5-25-2005

is there any kind of brain surgery for people with panic disorder or agoraphobia?

Lori W. Horstman   5-23-2005

To the Dad with the 22 yr/old daughter:
My husband's injury was in Feb. 2002. He went through all of the usual treatment, physical therapy, cortisone injections, IDET surgery, etc. You must fail all conservative treatment for 6 months from what I understand. I may be wrong, but I think that three levels have been done, but I am not sure where. Has she had a consultation with anyone regarding the ADR?? I would at least consult with someone who would know if she is a candidate. Good Luck.

gerry johnston   5-23-2005

My sister just had the disk replacement surgery two weeks ago and now has serious complications and the doctors don't know what to do. Is there anybody I can talk to in order to get more information about this? Thank you.

Mark Mintzer - GPN   5-21-2005


Great question! But, the guestbook is not really the place to have a dialog. I have asked your question on the ADR support forum.;f=1;t=000500


Yvonne   5-21-2005

If a pateint gets and ADR like Pro disc or Charite, will developing osteoporosis a few year latter ruin what the ADR accomplished? Yes or now ?
How and why ? how can it be prevented?

Robert K. Wyatt   5-21-2005

I live in Fort Wayne, IN, male 66 years old and need a two level, L4 & S1 ADR. I think I am waiting for all the bureaucracy to clear to get my health back on track. We need a two level approval from the FDA. Medicare has already established the coding.
Perhaps the dynesys might work for me but the proper CPT coding has not been established for Medicare to cover this procedure. I think going to Europe would be great if I had the cash or insurance. Are there other alternatives - perhaps clinical trials?

bill   5-21-2005

update pain is almost about the same now its been 15 weeks very very hard to bend over to even put on shoes docs don t tell you its going to be maybe a year or more

Zelda van Zyl   5-21-2005

Hey Everyone. I'm glad my docter told me about this page. I am 18 now, nearly 19 and I have suffer severe back pain since I was 16. I need to say, it was after I had a back injury in my gade 10 netball season. I went to fisio's a few times, but, while they couldn't find the actual problem, my back was getting worse. Now, I'm not even 19 yet, and I need 2 have a prodisc replacement. If you could answer a few questions for me, which I really like to know, I would appreciate it. Will I be able to play netbal and jog again after the operation. How long will it take me to recover fully. Is it just me, or is the thought of a back operation frightning? I am really scared, but are desperate for relief. I'm on the 15 of June. And my nerves are running away with me. Will I be able to live like a 19 year old again, because at the moment I feel like 80 when I walk, move, climb stairs, run, sit down, stand up. Will this all be over? I now I ask a lot of quetions, but plz, I really need to know this stuff. IF you have answeres for me, pls mail me @ Thanks guys, and thank you for your stories and your honesty. I'm glad I can talk to people who undergo the same as I have 2 do now. Hope 2 hear of you soon.

jacqui fields   5-19-2005

HI! to Nicole Troup, I am in the same position as you with the whole back issues. I started my pain at 16 and it got worse as i got older but did nothing. Now i am 35, had a baby and the pain is unbelievable. My doctors are suggesting replacment before i try to have another child. my orthopedic sergeon says it's the bones rubbing that's the problem, just like yours. I'm scared also and the artificial disk rep. sounds to good to be true. I have heard that some say they found relief as soon as they were out of sergery. I don't like the idea of loss of movement with the fusion, like you I've danced for years, miss it. Now it's harder than ever to keep up with a toddler. Glad to see your doing something about it now.

Nicole Troup   5-19-2005

My name is Nicole and I am 19 years old. I have been suffering from chronic back pain for almost two years. Before October of 2003, I was a perfectly healthy student. I had been active all of my life starting gymnastics when I was just 3 years old and dancing since I was 10. Dancing was and still is my passion, and I miss it very much. My pain first started as a slight pricking sensation in my right “bottom” when I bent over from the waist. I didn’t really think anything of it. I kept going with my daily activities including my morning and afternoon dance practices. Months went by and my pain got worse. The pricking turned into a stabbing, which began to radiate down the back of my thigh. So I decided to take action. In February 2004, I started out with chiropractic adjustments. All they did was crack my back in all sorts of ways—it was not fun. At the chiropractor, they also did massage therapy and ultra sound. None of these procedures helped, and my chiropractor referred me to see a neurologist. So I went to get a set of MRI’s in March and in July went to a neurologist. He said that I had a herniated disc as well as having 2 somewhat weak discs at the L4-L5 and L5-S1 levels. So from there, a good friend referred us to a neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon reviewed a new set of MRI’s that I got in August and noticed the herniation. Because I am so young he decided to start with some pain management procedures first. I started with cortisone injections. This procedure was supposed to relieve the pain. I had 2 shots out of 3 that I would be allowed, but I didn’t even get to the third shot because neither of the first two helped. After the injections, I tried physical therapy. I had 3 sessions and was discharged. They practically kicked me out, seeing no progress and that we were just wasting time and money. So my family and I talked to my doctor again and the next option would be surgery—a microdiscectomy. This procedure would take out the part of the disc that is herniated so it would no longer touch the sciatic nerve, which is what sent the radiating pain down my leg, now all the way down to mid-calf. We decided I would have the surgery—the date was September 29, 2004, just a couple weeks after my 19th birthday. Surgery went well and I recovered amazingly quickly, but I still felt that excruciating sharp pain down my right leg. I went to post-op rehabilitation therapy to get my low-back muscles back into gear and it was very hard for me to do most of the exercises due to the leg pain I was still having. In December, my family and I went back to the neurosurgeon with a third set of MRI’s to see what was wrong. He told me there was still something bothering that nerve and that I would be a candidate for his study on artificial disc surgery. My family and I did not like the idea of being a “guinea pig” project, so we decided to get a second opinion. We went to the Texas Back Institute and talked to an orthopedic surgeon, rather than a neurological one. This doctor said that he would not go with the surgery because I am so young. So again, we tried another cortisone injection, which again, did not help. The doctor then ordered for me to have a discogram, a procedure in which needles are injected into the discs with dye. I then go through a CT scan, which shows the images of my discs clearly. During this procedure, I had to be half-awake to communicate with the doctor. It was one of the most painful things I’ve ever gone through in my life! The results confirmed the severity of the degenerated discs L4-L5 and L5-S1. In other words, the vertebrae at these 2 levels were almost rubbing bone-on-bone. The discs are leaking out fluid toxic to the nerves, which is why I am still having the leg pain. My doctor then said he wanted to do an IDET, or intradiscal electrothermal therapy, which hardens the discs only temporarily. We want something longer than just temporary; we want something that lasts. So again, we went to get another opinion. The most recent doctor we saw was a spine orthopedic at Baylor Hospital. This doctor stated right off the bat that I am an “unusual case” since I have 2 completely ruined discs at the age of 19. He said not to have the surgery, not because I am too young, but because the procedure is fairly new in America. So there is no question on whether or not I would be a candidate—it seems clear from the past three doctors I had seen. So now, my family and even some friends are all researching what would be the best option for me to take next. I have been through a lot in these past years and this on-going pain gets in the way of my daily life. I feel like a prisoner in this hurt body and all I want to be is pain-free. Please help and support me on my way to recovery.
Looking for hope,
Nicole (

To Lori   5-18-2005

How long had your husband been disabled before the disc replacement and where is that doctor at? My daughter is 22 with three low lumbar herniations.

Sarah   5-17-2005

Second Posting
I just got the news that my ADR surgery scheduled for tomorrow, 5/18/05 in Hattiesburg Mississippi has been canceled because Medicare has come back and said they won't pay for it because it is an experimental procedure. This is not an experimental procedure. This just shows how far behind we are here in the U.S. They've been doing this surgery in Europe for 25 years. My doctor was trained in Switzerland and it's a shame that he can't use his skills because insurance companies will not pay for ADRs.

Please let us all know when Medicare or any other insurances start paying for ADR.

Thanks and God Bless,
Disappointed in Mississippi

Joan Goldstein   5-14-2005

Is it really safe for a patient to go to Germany for surgery, who has a last name that is not Christian? Another words does anti semitism still exist in Germany?

Chrissy Galeana   5-13-2005

I have a motivator for all I have had DDD and a hurnated disk in my L5 S1. My nerosurgin said fusion 4 years ago I am 25 years old and refused this no matter the pain good news is I tuffed it out and now the FDA has approved the Charite Disk Replacment. The problem was wen I went in to say it was time my insurace denied this proceedure concidering it investigational and experamental (I but alot of you have herd this exuse from your insuance company. I too was crushed when I herd It was denied so I mad a nother appt. with my nerosurgin and she said not to worry there is no reason for a denial for this surgery.(This is if you have undergoed at leest 6 mon of theripy, Medications, Cortizon injections you name it if tou have been dooing all of these thing for the past 6 mon and are still in pain). So My nerosurgen said to appeal this deanial so all I had to do was gather all my supporting info on what I had done for my problem that is failing (All chart notes from all treating Doctors for your condition). I wrote a letter to send with it and within 30 day it was approved. I will have this surgery fully paid on 5/18/05. It has been a long jurney but way worth the time for a BRAND NEW BACK(even more durable than a regular disk I am told). So please to all no one should give up if you relate just appeal your denial. GOOD LUCK TO ALL (buy the way this is happening in Oregon not Germany and not any other contry)

jerry   5-13-2005

I am trying to have the dick replacement in c5-6. I got hurt at work and this is a workmans comp case. in case they say no, what did you do to change their minds? let me know. thanks

Lori   5-12-2005

WOW. I have just read all of your postings dating back to 2004 and my heart goes out to all of you.

My husband had two level disc replacement in July, 2004 with Dr. Delamarter; L4/5 & L5/S1. Prior to surgery, he was completely disabled and on huge doses of oxycontin, fentanyl, norco, soma, you name it. Five months following surgery, he returned to work full time - as a carpenter! Today, he is pain free and does not even take ibuprofen! To top it all off, his was a worker's comp case and we fought them and got them to pay for it. The story is complicated, but we are willing to help anyone in need. (Mike Fletcher, I will e-mail you separately)

My advice is to never give up - DON'T FUSE if you can possibly avoid it. And if you must, go ahead and go overseas. We were prepared to go to Germany on our own dime if we had to and we estimated the total costs including lodging, etc to be about $35,000.

Also, I hear that for cervical disc replacement, the place to go is in London. I know of people that have Blue Cross and it is some type of international plan and Blue Cross has paid for it. Good luck and hang in there.

Sarah   5-11-2005

For ROBIN near MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST: I am scheduled to have Charite ADR 5/18/05 by Dr. James Antinnes at Southern Bone and Joint Clinic in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

I am 50 years old and have DJD. My L5 disc ruptured twice in 2002 and I had lamenectomies twice. I had already quit my job because of severe low back and right leg pain. As you probably know, it is hard to get most insurances to pay for ADR. I am lucky that I have Medicare Part A because I am on disability and also I have Tricare for Life because my husband is active duty military. Medicare has approved for me to have the surgery.

Also there is a Dr. Patterson in this clinic who does the surgery. The phone number is 601-554-7400 but you have to be referred by your doctor.

Also I noticed KELLY is seeing a DR FABIAN BITAN. He has a website where you can watch him do an actual ADR on a 35 year old female patient. It is
It is very interesting. But if you have a weak stomach, don't watch it.

Best of luck to everyone!

charlotte   5-11-2005

wanting to hear from people who have had the latest surgery for disc replacement using the flexible alternative instead of bone graft and bone fusion with metal.

Kelly / Dr. Fabian Bitan   5-11-2005

I am scheduled to see Dr. Bitan for a 2 - level disc replacement L5-S1, as well as a fusion of the sacrial joints. I had no probelms getting through to his office. If allowed on this web site.. Here it is...web address Office phone # 212-844-8669... Good Luck to all.

melissa   5-9-2005

I need help with my lower back problems. I have had 2 surgeries within 1 year and am in more pain then before. Now the docs want to remove the hardware on my left side and leave the right sided hardware in. I am afraid I don't want anymore surgeries. Help

Mike Fletcher   5-6-2005

I'm a 37 y old bricklayer/hockey player. I was injured on a jobsite in 1991, and I settled for lifetime medical on my spine in lieu of a cash settlement. I have degen and herniations at L4-L5, and L5/S1. Work comp sent me to Dr. Regan at Cedars Sinai and approved me to have a disc o gram, which they performed. The disc o gram and MRI's were positive at both levels. Then in October of 2004, Work Comp said-Too Bad, and refused to pay for me to have this procedure. I have been crushed ever since. I cant figure out how a Dr. 2000 miles away can submit a report saying that I am in no pain, and that I dont need the procedure regardless of the medical findings.I guess the authorization of the disc o gram was a gamble on their part hoping the findings would be negative. I could use some help if anyone has any suggestions.

Rick Houghtaling, thanks for the hope. I would like to get some info on your procedure and cost if possible. My email is

T Rowe   5-6-2005

My husband has been dealing with degenerative disk disease for years now. Finally, the artificial disk was approved. Everything looked good, until the insurance company said no, it is still experimental. Apparently the coding for this procedure has T behind it, meanig they must still send information to the FDA on the surgery. Now we are told it may be 5 years before the T comes off and the insurance may cover it then. Any suggestions??

Jacqueline Lucivansky   5-5-2005

To Whom It May Concern:

I would like to have a consult with a doctor specializing in artificial disk replacement - L4 and L5 level are the areas affected for me- I have been advised to have a double fusion and being only 37 years old I would like to avoid that type of surgery. Please reply and help me get started finding a doctor. I live in Wisconsin - but am willing to travel anywhere in the US to have the surgery done.
Thank you,

Joseph Coffua   5-1-2005

Would like an alternet to dics replacement surgury

andy   4-30-2005

I would like to know if there is a near future timeframe for the FDA approval of the Prodisc. I would much prefer to recieve that devise rather than the charitte. Thank you for all of your help.

eileen gallagher   4-30-2005

I just read thru these messages and thought I would add what I know. My back history is..initial injury doing gardening 14 years ago. periformus pain, sciatica pain r leg. initial diagnosis difficult, as moderate herniation only seen on left side. went to Dr VJ Vad at Hospital for Special Surgery,NY who said he would treat. Started with epidurals, not successful, then went for discgram then microdisectomy/laminectomy at L5/S1 in 1/2001 and they found a dynamic r sided hernia. one of the two pain paths were releived (outer r leg to foot). remaining pain (medial r hamstring to foot) worsened over time. Another discogram then had and IDET procedure in 8/03 on L4/L5 and L5/S1. initial releif then arthritic pain began winter 04. new MRI, L5/S1 has disintegrated, went on FT disability. Refered to three ADR surgeons, Dr Fedrico Girardi-HSS, Dr. Thomas Errico, NYU and Dr. Thomas Yue, Yale (see this site), all agree to wait for ProDisc, 1-3 levels. Dr.Yue thinks will be approved this summer, then need to wait for insurance company to pay. In addition, I saw to other dr who wanted to do multilevel fusion NO!! I am also taking neurontin, mobic which helps manage (Vioxx worked great). I have a great acupuncturist and PT who I believe are helping me manage the pain. Also have been doing rehabilitative Pilates on a Pilates Reformer to stay strong. To those of you out there, find a Dr in your area who participated in the trails and go for a consult. You can go to Germany if despreate to have it now. Good luck to all.

eileen gallagher   4-30-2005

this is a wonderful website. I a awaiting FDA approval of the ProDisc so that I can have 1-3 levels replaced. I have seen Dr. Yue, who was much more information than the other Drs than I consulted. Pls add me to your mailing list, so that I can keep in touch


David Gilbert   4-28-2005

Read about Marks experience(s) on the Brain Talk web site ( thankfully now up and running again..just like Mark ). Still doing preliminary research at to cause/cure for my C3/C4 compressions.Any info on options will be helpful.

Rick Houghtaling   4-27-2005


It was great talking to you yesterday. I just wanted to let you know everything is great and I am back to a (somewhat) normal life. As you recall I had four (4) lower back surgeries on 2 discs over the past 12 years and had a successful 2 level ADR in December performed by Dr. Zeegers. I feel great. I am playing ice hockey 2-3 times a week and going to the gym on my days off the ice. I’m playing a little bit of basketball, and even taking some time to wrestle with my kids. Sure, some days are better than others, I’m stiff some mornings and not on others, but for the most part I feel fantastic. I will never regret or forget how much you helped me. Thank you.

Currently I have appealed to Blue Shield to pay for the surgery. They responded last week and told me they wanted a complete translation of all the bills (they are all written in German). I have since sent them to my brother the linguist for translation after which I will forward them to Blue Shield for an answer (hopefully in a week or so). I’ll keep you posted.

Keep up the good work and good luck with the symposium in New York. This week is my 5 month anniversary from having my 2 level ADR. I will be celebrating it this weekend by playing hockey Saturday morning and pouring concrete in the backyard in the afternoon. I think Carla has me moving some stuff in the garage too! Oh dreadful! How it pains me (mentally) to be healthy!

Keep up the fantastic work.

Rick Houghtaling
2 level ADR
5 months post op



paul phillips   4-25-2005

after three surgerys, and every procedure knowned to man. I have given up. every dr. has said they wont touch me. and to just learn to live with the pain. HELP.

John   4-25-2005

That's for the info I was just told that insurance company were not paying so I would have to wait for my surgery. I need help to get my surgery.

Steve   4-24-2005

I called DePuy Spine last month to ask the same question that everyone seems to be asking about insurance coverage. They gave me a link with the insurance billing codes. It is a PDF form and if the Dr.s billing departments submit this as written, DePuy say's it should be no problem getting approval and paid for. I had no problems getting approved for my initial consult(C9). The number is 800-227-6633 tell them you are seeking answers to billing codes. I am seeing Dr. Bitan in May about a 2 level Charite`ADR for L4-L5,L5-S1. I have a BWC injury and have to leave Ohio to have this done.This will create even more problems as far as getting an out of state non-certified surgeon to register with your home state. Currently there are No surgeons doing a 2 level here in Ohio. Most have done very few single level ADR's. I found Dr. Bitan through DePuy inc., he has been doing ADR's since the early 80's in Europe. I would be more than happy to share a copy of the ADR billing codes to anyone who wants a copy. I am not sure about the rules on this site about my listing my email address here. So I will keep checking back to read the post. One more thing, DePuy also has a list for each state of Dr's who are certified by DePuy to use their products. Go to
insert your zip code in the Physician finder box and it will give you a list of surgeons for your state. Steve

Tricia Brophy   4-23-2005

I live in So. Calif. and am at present, waiting for my insurance to authorize the ADR sugery. I was in a very bad car accident nearly 3 years ago - I was rear-ended by somone goin 55mp - and hit me as I was waiting at a light. My car literally launched in the air, then wrapped around a tree. At the time I was recovering from a C-6.C7 neck fusion...( second one) But that accident changed my life, because it destroyed my back at L3 -L4. I was constantly being shoved aside by the doctors around here, and my injury got worse & worse to my back. I developed lumbar ridiculopaty in left leg, was walking with a cane - My leg was wasting away, and I was in so much agony in my back 24/7 ...still am.
My pain management doctor finally is the one who diagnosed the problem, and when the local neurosurgeon in the area ( the same one that had done my neck fusion) saw me, He said there was nothing that could be done. I finally after almost a year went to see a Spine Surgeon at USC University Hospital. He originally did a micro lumbar diskectomy - which did take the part of the disc that was crushing the nerve to my leg out - so I no longer fall down. That took care of the majority of that problem...but even with all the rehab, and treatment I still live in constant pain. I too cannot even put on my shoes! I leave my tennies tied, and just slip into them! I spent many, many months in physical therapy, and have had epidurals up the ying yang, but I cannot get rid of this back pain!The same Dr. at USC, Dr. Spoonamore at the Spine Center recommended that I should have the ADR. I trust this doctor, and he has done alot of these surgeries during the clinical trials, plus, being a teaching hospital - he was always traveling to Europe - and he was able to do them there, or at least be part of it... Of course I am nervous about it, but I have to do something... I have no life... I can't sleep, I can't be in any one position too long - and sitting is worst! It has just about destroyed my marriage because I am so miserable all the time.
I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield PPO which I heard is covering these surgeries. Do you know anything about that? I'm waiting for the authorization.
I live on pain meds & muscle relaxers or I could not survive the day. Reading about you, Mark and also seeing all the other fellow sufferers gives me more hope than you can imagine! Reading the posting is like looking in a visual/literary mirror!
I feel confident enough at this point to have the surgery, and I also know healing time for each person is different - is I'm realistic about that.
I was wondering if you will be having a symposium in So. Calif. anytime soon? I see the next one is next week in NY. That's where I am from originally - and my Aunt is still there. She told me they are also doing the surgeries at some of the big hospitals in NY.
It's hard to even explain to someone what living in this pain is like, except to another spine sufferer. Thank you for posting this site, it helped me see a wide variety of results and learn names of doctors & hospitals, and just seeing other people's results.
Have you any info. on the USC Spine Center as far as anyone who is either planning to have it done there, or even anywhere else in CA.? Also, I do trust my doctor, but is there anything you can add that you may know or where I can look up info on him, and the experiences they have had when they did the clinical trials???
Thanks for allowing me the opporunity to share this. I know my neck fusion is messed up, but I need to concentrate on the back, because that is what is making my life miserable. My husband is a great support - but I know he really doesn't understand how much pain I live in every day, and try to just get through the day.
One of the postings talks about how the person can finally plan things now that they've had the surgery. That is exactly how I am right now - I cannot plan anything - We miss out on so much because it's impossible for me to do normal fun things. It's hard enough to get through ONE DAY!
Thanks a gain, if you know anything, or where I could look I would so totally appreciate it.
God Bless...

Robin   4-22-2005


Christina   4-20-2005

I have ddd L4thruS1, as well as a thorasic spine that suffered five compression fractures to vertabrae four years ago. I have been enduring various forms of pain management for five years. Dr's here in Pgh think I should continue to endure. However, my family wants me to come home to new york and look into ADR with Fabian Bitan. I tried contacting his office without success to make an appointment for end of June July. I need to do something. I spent last night in the emergency room fighting off another hospital admission for pain control. My legs have weakened significantly, I cannot stand still for more than two seconds and haven't slept all the way through the night in over two years. I'm going back on fentynl patches (50mghr), percocet nuerontin, etc. I want my life back. Any help you can provide would be appreciated. Thank you.

bill   4-20-2005


criss   4-17-2005

Brandi: Aetna has determined ADR to be medically necessary for select cases, citing updated data that BlueCross cites for denying coverage;

matt   4-16-2005

need information had the charite disk replacement three weeks ago and am still having back pain when i sit burning pain has any one else had the surgery to comment if its just the recovery process from the surgery

annmastro   4-10-2005

Great job! This is a wondeful undertaking.
Mark, Bravo!

Spondylolisthesis   4-7-2005

Would Spondylolsthesis of 8mm. in Flexion at l3-L4 with degeneration eliminate me from ADD. Also degeneration on L4-L5 Does any body know the limits. Your comments please

Kimberly Arizona   4-7-2005

Regarding insurance, when my opportunity comes, I plan to build a business case with my insurance company. My first surgery in the US was over $100K; why would a business choose that over $26,000 in Germany? Following on the back of NBC's recent segment on pain, I sent the today show a note about those of us in pain.

Arthur   4-7-2005

Hi: Mary MacCarter/Yeung and Regan --
How are you after the 03/18/2005 ADR surgery by Dr. Zeegers in Germany? I have two insurances, they all said NO to me. Is germany more expensive than USA? It is about 80k in seattle area? I have very bad DDD in L4-5. Is germany better? Thank you for information.

ADR-waiting-list   4-6-2005

Kimberly Arizona: I have DDD too, and I do everything to avoid fusion. I am 18-20 hours in my bed everyday. I am waiting for ADR and read lots of paper.brYou should go to Germany.

Shawn Hanning   4-4-2005

I am waiting for the Prodisc and I was wondering does anyone know when it is coming out. I have heard this spring or it could be 2 years from now.

Kimberly Arizona   4-4-2005

I have DDD and had a fusion of C6 & 7 on 8/05. The surgeon only looked at the MRI and didn't do a discogram. I continue to have pain at the site of origination. Nurontin/Zoloft/Percocet/PT/Myotherapy/etc. are not helping. Is there a super doctor who will take out the fusion and give me a shot at a disc replacement? Do I need to go abroad to get help? I was a leader in a Fortune 20 Co and have been disabled for 6 months. Please help.
Thank you.

Jacquie Preston   3-31-2005

I have just made reservations for my husband and myself to attend this informative Symposium. I am looking forward, too, to meeting my many 'cyber friends' from MGH's Braintalk Spinal Disorders Forum. See you there!!

Brandi   3-29-2005

I am scheduled to have the Charite' surgery done in June. I am just waiting to see if my insurance will cover the cost. Does anyone know which insurance companies are covering this surgery?

Chris Mancuso   3-28-2005

Hello everyone. I have had pain in my lumbar for years. It doesnt help that i am a pro athlete, well, was a pro athlete.( I had a major injury last august and got epidurals in my L5. i felt great but 3 months later it wore off and i was in worse pain than ever, so bad i needed a shot of demerall. So i went back to my doctors and they suggested disc replacemnt on my L5 S1,and L3L4. Im messed up. I have degeneration, herniation, all that good stuff. I go to the doctor this friday and we are going to see if i can get approved. i think i have a good case. Atany rate I would be the first pro athlete in Ny to have this procedure done...maybe i can get sponsered by prodisc..??seriously. I'll keep you allposted on what they say. Im excited about the technology and hope to god i get approved, otherwise its back to selling organs..j/k
-best regards

Mary Ann Moreno   3-26-2005

Hello Mark,
On January 27,2005, I had an instrumental spinal fusion surgury. I had been diagnosed with DDD,L5, S1. I had expirenced pain prior to the surgery but nothing compared to what I am feeling now. Prior to the surgery I struggled to put my shoes on, bend over and even getting up from a sitting position had become agonizing.After the surgery, I became limited to doing anything at all. I cannot bend and at times it feels as if I have arthritis in my lower torso.I know it's only been 3 months since the surgery but will or should I expect to see an improvement on my limitations?

Mark Mintzer - GPN   3-24-2005

For insurance issues and other spine issues you'd like to discuss, please go to discussion forums at



Andrea   3-24-2005

This is a great website!
Question for J,T. Williams III:
How far are you into the appeals process and how is it going?
I was scheduled for ADR on March 9 and my insurance also denied it calling it experimental. Anyone who has info/help on this would be greatly appreciated. I'm fighting their denial.

sally   3-24-2005

kareebrMy husband also has a fusion and is looking into ADR because of an annular tear. We were given the name of Dr. Fabian Bitan in New York City. We were told he does do ADR on top of fusions. We contacted his office in January and still are trying to get a set surgury date. They are booking in May

Yolondo Schorsch   3-21-2005

Hi Susan,I had a Total Disk Replacement (TDR) with the Charite Device two weeks ago. It's the metal implant with the plastic in the middle. It was approved by the FDA Oct. of last year for wide spread use in the U.S. I am still recovering and am a bit limited, but I am to walk, bend, and this week drive very short distances. I don't know if you have talked to your insurance about this device. From all I have read on it and my own limited experience so far it will be a miracle cure for my tear in L5-S1 and two disk bulges in L3 & L4. Good Luck to you and if I were you and my insurance wouldn't say yes, I'd find a way through legal means to protect my rights to treatment, especially since the FDA Approved the device for use!

Susan Pinkus   3-20-2005

my name is susan and i have been suffering agonizing discogenic pain for 6 and one half years. I am completely disabled by the pain. My discogram ct scans show the l4-5 and l5-s1 as the pain generators. i was advised by a spine surgeon to have and ADR , after numerous unsuccesful therapies including about 10 epidurals, traction, exercise you name it, i had it and all of it just irritated the three level tears , i have in both these two disc. I also have cervical pain from two adjacent discs. I do not want to have a fusion in both areas of my body. My insurance company will not pay for anything new, which I wish I was told years ago, before waiting like an idiot for the discs. Now I am willing to go abroad. I cannot hold out any longer with the constant pain and medication. I am a non smoker, non drinker just 5'2 tall and 135 pound, I was twenty pounds thinner prior to the onset of the pain over 6 years ago.
Please anyone out there let me know how much the surgery is and how and where I can get it the soonest. I am sooooo desperate. I feel as if I have died and gone to hell, the pain is so horrible and constant. Please help me.

Karee C. Pyle   3-16-2005

Mark - I read Melanie's story and was simply amazed that anyone could help her. I am facing a second fusion at the LR 3 level, I had a discektomy, fusion with my pelvic bone in 1999 and I am trying desperatly to find a Dr. that would be willing to do the adr om me as I am so afraid that next will be level-2 - Are thier any Dr. in US. that do Adr on people with former spine fusions. I am in so much pain and just keeps getting worse - I have put thi off since July but do not know how much longer i can hold out. I would appreciate if you could give me some direction. Thanks

Mark Mintzer - GPN   3-7-2005

Ernest and others who've asked questons here:

I apologize, but I don't monitor the guestbook for questions. There are some great online forums that provide excellent information from very knowledgeable people. (This is the internet, so you'll find mis-information too.)

Look at the discussion forums at


Ernest   3-4-2005

I am schedule for a 2-level (L5-S1 and L4-L5) ProDisc replacement with Dr. Rick Delamarter in late April of this year. My company is self insured and has authorized payment for this procedure (thank God). What am I in for? How long before I am able to be back to work (i stand at a drafting table and work on a computer all day)? thanks all.

Paul   3-3-2005

I had a three level disk replacement with Prodisc on 1-11-05. I am back at work (restricted duty) 7weeks post-op.
The pain is going away at 6weeks. Mobility is returning.
Dr.Rick Delamarter is the best!!!!

Janet Berger   2-28-2005

I have had disk problems for 5 years now. First in my lumbar area, now in my cervical area. My doctors are now referring me for disk replacement in my L2-5 area

Mary MacCarter/Yeung and Regan   2-25-2005

Beware. Insurance companies are not always going to pay for out-of-state ADR. After working with Dr. Regan's office in LA for two months, my Arizona insurance company turned me down flat. Won't pay a dime. With Mark's helpful guidance I have a date in Germany with Dr. Zeegers on March 18th. I would also like to know more about the recovery process. One level L4-L5.

Mark Mintzer - GPN   2-21-2005


Go to and find the discussion forums. You'll find that most spineys have this question. The answer is different for all. For me, I needed to feel that.

1. I was not going to get better by waiting.

2. I was bad enough to justify the risks of surgery. (Success is not guaranteed with ANY spine surgery.)

Good luck!!! Please keep me posted,


Kim Easley   2-21-2005


I am a 37 year female, and it will be 4 years this may (2005) that I started having excrutiating pain in my back and legs. I was told I have DDD at levels L4 amd L5. I was so scared of having anyone touch my back it took me a little over 3 years to let someone perform an epidural spinal injection. I had gone through several cycles of physical therapy, pain meds, tens unit, you name it. I had the injection on october 19, 2004 and was almost pain free for 2 months. The pain started coming back in December and is now back to what it was before the injection. I have a second injection scheduled for 2 weeks from now. I do not have bladder problems, mainly just excrutiating pain in my lower back and left leg (sometimes right leg, depending on how the stars and moon are aligned, ha ha) if I am on my feet for more than a half an hour. I don't even enjoy shopping anymore! If I can sit, stand, sit, stand, every half an hour or so things aren't so bad, but this is not very realistic for the real world. It is also very hard for me to sleep, as turning over in the middle of the night hurts so bad it wakes me up. I have been on Ambien and flexerel at night for almost 4 years now. My question is obvious. Am I bad enough to warrent artificial disc replacement? I absolutely WILL NOT consider a spinal fusion. My quality of life really stinks, but when I hear other peoples stories I think maybe I'm not so bad off. I am just tired of being in pain 24 hours a day 365 days a year.Thank you for taking the time to read this.


Kim Easley

Tom Vollmer   2-19-2005

The GPN Profile you recently completed for me is just excellent. It really wraps all Details, Xrays,& Reports of my Back Condition all nicely together.I also want to thank you for forwarding my profile to Dr. Yeung and getting his response back so quickly. It was only a few days and I had an email from Dr. Yeung with his evaluation comments. This was unreal ...because if I would try to reach a doctor for an evaluation I would wait forever. Mark , you are truly a God-Send for assisting spiney patients with getting evaluations/appointments with doctors.
Tom Vollmer

Theresa/Tbackpain1/MGH Braintalk forums   2-16-2005


Thank you so much for all the work that you do. I continue to be amazed at the amount and types of information that you compile and provide for spinal pain/problem sufferers. I hope that each day, as technology advances, there will be a surgical intervention for my thoracic spinal problems that will pose less risk that the techniques currently available. I am grateful for all the work that you do, and knowing that there are advocates such as yourself who are extremely dedicated gives many of us great hopes. Thank you again for all that you do.

Thoracic HNP T7-T8, T8-T9, T10-T11
Black Disc T11-T12
DDD of the Thoracic spine
Currently treating conservatively with Yoga, myofascial release massage, and pain medication.
No surgery unless there is loss of lower limb function or bowel/bladder control.

David webster   2-15-2005

Thanks for you call the other day, it was a great help I was very depressed!! I needed a light to move towards and I recieved it that evening, I recieved an e-mail that I have been accepted for the two level Charite and insurance going to cover it. I will be on my way to Germany April 6 for surgery on the 9th. I even had three days of no pain (A gift from heaven!!) my first time in 10 months I don't know why but I did injoy it!!! Mark your call was very important to me!! We need to get the word out about what you do, I just stumbled on to your sight but there are many that do not know about you and the help and options you can give them. I am telling everyone one that I think can spread the word. thank you for every thing.

J,T. Williams III   2-12-2005

I was scheduled for adr l5-s1 on 1-21-05 but 2 days before the surgery my insurance co decided the would not pay for the surgery stated it was still in the experimental stage. Now I am in the process of appeals.

Mary Lynn and Doug MacCarter/Dr. Yeung and Dr. Regan   2-12-2005

Thank you Mark for all your help. I am scheduled for ADR L4-L5 on March 17th with Dr. Regan. It was a pleasure meeting him at the symposium. I have been a back sufferer for 2 years without any relief. Dr. Yeung has been my Dr. for almost a year. I had the SED procedure done, but to no avail. I was not a strong candidate for this surgery, but I was so desperate. I am a counselor by trade and all my knowledge in this area never prepared me for handling this disability and everything that comes with it. Don't give up and let Mark be your guide, it is worth every penny.

Chris Plante/Patient of 2-level disc replacement.   2-10-2005

I recieved 2-level disc replacement(Charite) on Feb.1st and was looking for individual insights on the healing process. This site is great! Thanks to all who have spent the time putting it together. Chris Plante

Tom Carroll   2-4-2005

Mark, I just wanted to thank you for the call last night. It didn't cure my pain, but it brought tears just knowing that someone out there really does know what this whole ordeal feels like, and where to go, and what to do. Your call helped me more emotionally than anything thus far. Thank you

Catherine Bradley   1-28-2005

Dear Mark and All:
I was very excited to learn that had scheduled a live webcast of a Charite total disc replacement by Dr. Fabian Bitan on 01/26/05. I was fortunate to be able to watch the surgery as it happened, and I think I was able to record it. Sorry I didn't let anyone know ahead of time, I thought Mark and others would have already known about it. Sincerely,
Catherine and Thomas Bradley

clintbasham   1-28-2005

I left out that I am 31 years old,athletic or was.have had previous surgery laminectomy l4 l5si 1992.infection with scaring. my problem is ca. state comp issue.Is it possable to get surgery out of state,country and have them pay for it.please contact me with any info and see my other post thanks.

clint basham 1-27-05   1-27-2005

hello i would like to know if there is a doctor to see in california for a 2 level adr. i was hurt at work 4 years ago and everyone i talk to says 360 fusion. on all sorts of meds from sezure,pain,anti-depresants,muscle relaxers.need help

Ramona Bowles   1-27-2005

I would like to know if there is a doctor in South Africa that does lumbar disc replacement.

Carl F. Tagge   1-24-2005

I am a recent recipient for the Prodisc artificial disc replacement program. I was the second person in North America to receive THREE artificial discs in my lower back. This was performed here in Texas.

I can tell you from personal experience that this is the only direction to go IF YOU ARE A CANADATE for the procedure. In 1998 I had a 60% of L4 and L5 removed to buy me time for the disc replacement program, which was done just this past (2004) summer. I had a very good surgeon who looked for a solution and not just a quick fix that would help for a brief time.

I would be more than happy to share in more detail my progress and ability to function as a person.

Eileen I.   1-23-2005

I think you folks may be my last and only hope. I'm an active duty Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and Pilot stationed in Colorado Springs, and had an L5-S1 fusion in 1981. I have been battling the awful, awful military medical system for almost 2 years now trying to get help. 20+ years of serving my country have left me with a host of L3-L4-L5 problems (DDD, gross instability, herniated disc, annulear tear, SI and facet joint probs, horrific pain down the legs, you name it) and no/poor support from the military, get the specialized analysis, diagnosis, and treatment I need to get my life back. Doing nothing is not an option, and every fiber of my being tells me another fusion is not an option. All the ADR clinical trials I read about say I'm not a candidate. So if you guys are for real, here's my email: Convince me to sink my precious hard-earned dollars into these GPN services -- I've learned enough to know that the military will not help in any way (read: pay for anything the local Fam Prac yokel does not understand and approve). I'm out of hope. Thanks, if only for the vent. God Bless America.

Pearl4949   1-16-2005

I have known Mark for about 5 years also. When I first met him before his own ADR, he could barely walk. After his surgery with Dr. Zeegers he is back flying a plane.

Mark continues to be a blessing in my life. He brings me knowledge that allows me to understand the piles of information available. Spine Surgeons from around the World. Broken down into information that we can understand as patients. I only missed this last seminar because of the awful weather!

GLOBAL PATIENT NETWORK presents you with INFORMATION to look at ALL YOUR OPTIONS that are available to you.

Most of us don't even know what/if any options are available. That was me 1994...starting from zero with spinal issues that I had from the age of 14. Trying to get educated, trying to understand my issues.

I have had my SI Joint Fused. I have waited for ADR to be approved as I need FUSION and ADR BOTH. Two level.

This is a wonderful service that Mark is providing.

Kind regards and hugs, Pearl

cervie queen   1-14-2005

I have known Mark for almost 5 years. His knowlege of spine is unique for a layman. The ability to tap this knowlege for a patient is unprecedented. And his access to the top spine surgeons IN THE WORLD is unique. I trust him implicitly and now realize that the friend that took his dog to the beach to play with my dog many years ago is close to a Saint.

I have been to three of his seminars and thought I knew a lot. I learn new things every time.

Maria Azzarone -   1-10-2005

This is the second symposium I have attended that Mark Mintzer has put together to help connect the Spinal Patient Community with the best surgeons in the Spinal Community (USA and abroad).

The symposium with Dr.Regan answered every question I've prepared in the past to ask spine surgeons but didn't get answered for either lack of knowledge on the topic, or lack of the appt. time.

Dr.Regan's answers to questions were forthright and direct. I felt his lecture was in sync with everyone in the room. I think this was all the information I could have possibly wanted and then some, and definately enough to make a decision regarding ADR surgery which I've been dancing around for a while now even tho I've had the surgery authorized twice now and scheduled.

Mark, can't thank you enough for wonderful opportunities like this to be able to listen to and question the top authorities on spine surgery in this country and in Europe.

Maria Azzarone

Jim McLeod (Jim M2)   1-10-2005

Mark, Thanks for another incredible seminar! Dr. Regan did not shy away from the tough questions, especially those concerning failed surgery and revision surgery. I'm hoping another seminar is in the works, they are my best source of reliable information.

gary/   1-9-2005

Just got home from the Doc Regan symposium,this is my 3rd held by GPN,and by far the best out of the series i've attended. this time i brought my sister who has issues with 3 lumbar levels and assorted other problems,she had a chance to talk to the Doc on a break. she also said she has learned more in 4& 1/2hours today than from years of seeing specialist after specialist about her back problems. Again Mark, you are the best of the best! Dr Regan's ability to communicate to us the patient is by far one of a kind. I cannot express how valuable these luncheons are,even 2&1/2yrs post-op from my ADR surgery, i'm still learning about my spine and what my surgeon did to correct my DDD at L4-L5&L5-S1.

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