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Surgical Outcomes and Blogs Discuss L4/L5, L5/S1 ProDisc Synthes in the Main forums forums; SURGERY DATE: May 26, 2009 AGE AT SURGERY DATE: 36 SURGEON: Dr. Bertagnoli SURGERY LOCATION/CLINIC: Straubing, Germany DEVICE(s), ...

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Old 06-01-2009, 08:09 PM
jessmith07's Avatar
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Default L4/L5, L5/S1 ProDisc Synthes

SURGERY DATE: May 26, 2009

AGE AT SURGERY DATE: 36

SURGEON: Dr. Bertagnoli

SURGERY LOCATION/CLINIC: Straubing, Germany


DEVICE(s), LEVEL(s): L4/L5, L5/S1 ProDisc Synthes

COST = $45,000 USD
AMOUNT BILLED:
INSURANCE ALLOWED: $42,000
OUT OF POCKET: $3,000
TRAVEL: $1,200 USD
EXPLANATIONS? We used Miles from our mileage plus account to get from the US to Paris, France (planned a vacation to Paris long before the surgery), so that flight was only about $100 in taxes. $600 for 2 round-trip tickets to Germany from France. $500 hotel in Germany.


ONSET OF LUMBAR PROBLEMS, DATE OF INJURY, CAUSE, ETC...: About 12 years; 9 years intermittent pain, 3 years chronic. My first bout of severe back pain came in early 1997, after the birth of my second daughter. As a teenager, I was very active with horses, and used to break and train, being thrown and kicked numerous times. Early 2008, diagnosed with DDD.

PRIOR SPINE SURGERIES AND PROCEDURES (IDET, ESI, etc...): Numerous epidural injections; chiropractic care regularly since 2006. Herniation in April 2008; laminectomy in September 2008.

PRE-OP MEDICATIONS: Topomax & arthrotec daily, lortab as needed

PRE-OP DIAGNOSTICS (discogram, nerve root blocks, etc...): MRI with and without contrast; x-rays

PRE-OP NEUROPATHIES (what, where, & degree of pain, numbness, tingling, sexual/bladder/bowel symptoms, etc.): Numbness/tingling in feet; some mild cramping in calves; mild bladder control issues (like when coughing/sneezing/laughing hard); bowels not working properly ( like only 1-2 times per week)

PRE-OP CONDITION (Please include %leg pain/% back pain, pain levels, type of pain, ability to work and function, disability status, etc.... be direct, but be as verbose as you need to): Without meds, my daily pain level was about 7-8; after I started arthrotec, daily pain level down to 2-3. The 2008 laminectomy eventually healed the nerve pain, but the disc pain was constant and if I moved too quickly, it felt like a hot poker stabbing me in the back. I was able to continue working until the day before I left for Europe.

TIME POST-OP AT ORIGINAL POST HERE: 6 days

DESCRIBE YOUR SURGICAL EXPERIENCE: I had my surgery on a Tuesday afternoon. I was kept in ICU until Wednesday afternoon for monitoring because of my anxiety dissorder, and I guess they didn't want me to wake up and freak out. Wednesday, I pretty much slept, although I did get sick to my stomach a couple of times because of the morphine, but once they took me off of that and I started taking my own pain meds, I was fine. Thursday morning, I woke up at 5:00 am, got out of bed, put on my brace and went for a walk, and walked about 6-8 times total that day. By Friday, I was taking the stairs instead of the elevator (just 1-2 flights, usually just 1, though), and walking for 10 minutes every hour and a half or so. Saturday, I walked out of the hospital and walked about a mile (half one way, then half going back to the hospital). Sunday I left the hospital and flew to Paris to recouperate for a week with my Sweetie. Back pain is GONE! I'm up and walking, albeit slowly, with very little discomfort from the actual surgical site. AMAZING!

RATE FUNCTIONALITY / SATISFACTION AT INTERVALS BELOW:

FUNCTIONALITY:
1. Very poor: much worse... disabled after surgery.
2. Poor: worse after surgery.
3. Neutral: No improvement, or improvements offset by new problems.
4. Fair, some improvement, limitations are still serious.
5. Good, substantial improvement, some limitations.
6. Excellent: no limitations.

SATISFACTION:
1. Very sorry I had the surgery.
2. Somewhat sorry I had the surgery.
3. Too soon to tell, or I'm ambivalent about the surgery.
4. I'm somewhat glad I did my surgery.
5. I'm very glad I did my surgery.

Don't forget the detail update section below!

DATE UPDATED: 7/10/2009 FUNCTIONALITY: 5 SATISFACTION: 5 [6 WEEKS POST-OP]

DATE UPDATED: 8/26/2009 FUNCTIONALITY: 5 SATISFACTION: 5 [3 MONTHS POST-OP]

DATE UPDATED: 12/29/2009 FUNCTIONALITY: 5 SATISFACTION: 5 [7 MONTHS POST-OP]

DATE UPDATED: _________ FUNCTIONALITY: ___ SATISFACTION: ___ [1 YEAR POST-OP]

DATE UPDATED: _________ FUNCTIONALITY: ___ SATISFACTION: ___ [2 YEARS POST-OP]

DATE UPDATED: _________ FUNCTIONALITY: ___ SATISFACTION: ___ [3 YEARS POST-OP]

DATE UPDATED: _________ FUNCTIONALITY: ___ SATISFACTION: ___ [4 YEARS POST-OP]

DATE UPDATED: _________ FUNCTIONALITY: ___ SATISFACTION: ___ [5 YEARS POST-OP]

DATE UPDATED: _________ FUNCTIONALITY: ___ SATISFACTION: ___ [6 YEARS POST-OP]

DATE UPDATED: _________ FUNCTIONALITY: ___ SATISFACTION: ___ [7 YEARS POST-OP]

6 WEEKS POST-OP - DESCRIBE LIFESTYLE / PAIN / MEDICATIONS / NEUROPATHIES / ECT... (discuss surgery induced symptoms [leg pain?]): Well, I'm just a few days past 6 weeks post op, and doing FANTASTIC!!! I went to the beach with all of my kids just 2 weeks ago, and had a BLAST (and planning on going again this Sunday)!!! I just had my 6 week post-op x-rays and they look great. I've been off all pain meds for 3 weeks, but I do still take one anti-inflammatory a day (down from twice a day). On occasion, I get a little "twinge" in my lower back, but its more at the top of my pelvis, and definitely nothing like my pre-op pain. I did have some low back pain just before my cycle, but I've always had that, and it was definitely nothing like it was before the surgery...this I can deal with for the rest of my life, if necessary. The only limitation I can tell so far is my hamstrings are still really tight, and because I'm limiting my range of motion and not bending like I used to, so the muscles in my back are a little tight, so I'm not quite as flexible. My bowel function is...well...NORMAL for the first time in YEARS!!! I'm as regular as a clock, whereas before the surgery, it was once, maybe twice, a week...and even then, sometimes I had to take something to move things along. One other added (and completely unexpected) bonus was the return of certain "sensations" that I hadn't realized had diminished over time...(think husband and wife benefits). Like WOW!!!!!! I feel like I'm 20 again! Leg pain is gone, hips feel great...overall, I feel like the poster child for ADR!!!

3 MONTHS POST-OP - DESCRIBE LIFESTYLE / PAIN / MEDICATIONS / NEUROPATHIES / ETC... (discuss surgery induced symptoms [leg pain?]): Well, today is 3 months post-op and I'm still doing great! I will go tomorrow to get my 3-month x-rays, and I have an appointment on Monday with my local neurosurgeon. I'm still actively looking for employment, but my children have really enjoyed having me home all summer. We've had lots of fun at the beach, and my husband has gotten my "hooked" on saltwater fishing, so we do that as often as possible too. It's been really hot here, even in the mornings, so I haven't been walking like I should, but I'm looking forward to the cooler weather so that I can start my early morning walks again.

7 MONTHS POST-OP - DESCRIBE LIFESTYLE / PAIN / MEDICATIONS / NEUROPATHIES / ETC... (discuss surgery induced symptoms [leg pain?]):Well, HELLO everybody! I know it's been a while since I've been on the forum, but life after surgery has returned "Life" back to "Normal"! I was laid off from my job right after returning from Europe for my surgery, so I spent almost 6 months at home with the family, and BOY did they keep me busy! Who knew that these kids would actually enjoy having me home so much? We went to the beach a lot, Hubby and I did a lot of saltwater fishing and of course, I got plenty of rest. Now I'm back at work (have been for almost a month) and I haven't felt this good in YEARS! I've quit smoking, I'm in the gym 4-5 times per week and except for the occasional ache or pain in the hips, which I've always had, I consider myself pain-free. I am still on an anti-inflammatory, but have been off all narcotics since about three weeks after the surgery. If I try to see if I can get off the anti-inflammatory for a few days, I do have some sciatic-like pain in my hips, but it's not the same as before the surgery. I think that this will heal over time, and as my body adjusts to the new routine of working and working-out again. All in all, I'd do this again in a heartbeat...in fact, if I'd have known I was going to do this well, I'd have done it much sooner.

1 YEAR POST-OP - DESCRIBE LIFESTYLE / PAIN / MEDICATIONS / NEUROPATHIES / ETC... (discuss surgery induced symptoms [leg pain?]):

2 YEARS POST-OP - DESCRIBE LIFESTYLE / PAIN / MEDICATIONS / NEUROPATHIES / ETC... (discuss surgery induced symptoms [leg pain?]):

3 YEARS POST-OP - DESCRIBE LIFESTYLE / PAIN / MEDICATIONS / NEUROPATHIES / ETC... (discuss surgery induced symptoms [leg pain?]):

4 YEARS POST-OP - DESCRIBE LIFESTYLE / PAIN / MEDICATIONS / NEUROPATHIES / ETC... (discuss surgery induced symptoms [leg pain?]):

5 YEARS POST-OP - DESCRIBE LIFESTYLE / PAIN / MEDICATIONS / NEUROPATHIES / ETC... (discuss surgery induced symptoms [leg pain?]):

6 YEARS POST-OP - DESCRIBE LIFESTYLE / PAIN / MEDICATIONS / NEUROPATHIES / ETC... (discuss surgery induced symptoms [leg pain?]):

7 YEARS POST-OP - DESCRIBE LIFESTYLE / PAIN / MEDICATIONS / NEUROPATHIES / ETC... (discuss surgery induced symptoms [leg pain?]):
__________________
36 year old mom of 7 in SC.

MRI 4/2008 shows bulging disc with annular tear @ 4/L5 and and complete herniation at L5/S1.

9/11/08 Laminectomy , successful to a point...relieved nerve pain, but after 4 months was still having severe disc pain.

Treatments tried: epidural shots, oral pain killers, NSAID's, TENS massage, chiropractic care, deep tissue massage. Oh, and plenty of our homemade wine!

May 26 2009, 2 level ADR, L4-S1, Dr. Bertagnoli, Straubing, Germany

Last edited by jessmith07; 12-30-2009 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:27 AM
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Default 1 week post-op

I'm in Paris and after a couple of days rest from the trip over, I'm feeling great! I just went for a 1 hour walk, slowly of course, and just started feeling a little discomfort at the end. I had a hard time getting the swelling in my ankles and feet under control, even with elevating them and wearing the compression hose that the hospital gave me, so for a few hours last night, we used the hose like ace bandages and tightly wrapped each foot and put socks over them...it worked like a charm. I didn't sleep with them bound, but when I woke this morning, I had ankles and toes again, not fat little sausages at the end of my legs!

I've dropped my daily anxiety medication back down to my regular doseage and I haven't had to take any meds for accute anxiety since before the surgery, and so far, so good. I'm still taking 20 mg of Opana every 12 hours, and 2 lortabs (10 mg each) at 6 hours in between, and it's keeping my pain at bay. Today, I thought I'd try stopping the Opana and just taking the Lortab every 6 hours.

More later...Hubby just came in and we're going on another walk
__________________
36 year old mom of 7 in SC.

MRI 4/2008 shows bulging disc with annular tear @ 4/L5 and and complete herniation at L5/S1.

9/11/08 Laminectomy , successful to a point...relieved nerve pain, but after 4 months was still having severe disc pain.

Treatments tried: epidural shots, oral pain killers, NSAID's, TENS massage, chiropractic care, deep tissue massage. Oh, and plenty of our homemade wine!

May 26 2009, 2 level ADR, L4-S1, Dr. Bertagnoli, Straubing, Germany
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:02 PM
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Location: Southern Indiana
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Default jealous...

sounds like you're doing great! and what a great place to recoup! I'm so jealous!
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Herniated L4/L5 May 2004 (Bed ridden)

Discsectemy June L4/L5 2004

Discssectemy L4/L5 January 2007

MRI May 5th - showed "moderate sizd protruding disk in the the left paracentral location at the L4-5 level which appears to a more porminent comparison to the prior examination" and "appears to impinge upon the exiting nerve root"

May 11th Dr Apptment - Told that another Discsectemy could be done.

Looking for Surgeon for second Opinion
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Old 06-02-2009, 06:36 PM
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Jess,

Sounds like you're doing absolutely great. Words can't describe how happy I am for you.

You're going and doing in Paris!!!!! Wow!

I know you're feeling fantastic and with that, you might push a little too much. Please remember to take is slow. You'll get to where you want to go much quicker but letting your body heal at its own pace.

Super terrific . Keep us posted, Dale
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3 level Prodisc adr S1-L3, Oct 12, 2005
Dr. B in Bogen, Germany
Severe nerve damage in left leg, still working on it
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:40 AM
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Jess... such great news. I'm so happy that your recovery is going so well. Being able to cut back on the meds so soon is wonderful. Please keep us posted.

Here is a shot I took of you and Marty at the party...


I'll email the rest of the photos to you soon. All the best,

Mark
__________________
1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
President: Global Patient Network, Inc.
Founder: www.iSpine.org
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Old 06-03-2009, 08:46 AM
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Well, yesterday, after Marty came back to the hotel, we went and walked around for about 2 hours, and then I came in and took a nap. When I woke up, my muscles were achey, but my back was fine. We went out to do some laundry (it would have cost over 200 euros to have the hotel laundry service it!!! ) and then we went to dinner. By the time we reached the restaurant, by lower back was bothering me a little (but not the pre-op kind of pain), and I took 2 Lortabs and knokced the pain back down to the level that I like...just enough mild pain to remind me to be careful. We came back to the hotel for the night and watched a movie.

Today, I'm feeling like I over did it a little yesterday, so I'm going to force myself to stay in the room today and rest, because we want to go to the Eifel tower tonight. No Opana yesterday or today, and other than muscle aces, I'm feeling fine.

Hubby and I are "enjoying" each other carefully and no pain there. I was really woried about that, but all is great!

I couldn't be happier having had this surgery, and while I know that I could still have some ups and downs in the weeks & months to come, as of right now, I feel hope for the first time that I just might get that pain-free life I was seeking. I can't help but wonder if the reason I'm doing so well is because I was able to have the surgery before my spine degenerated to a point where I was having a myriad of other problems in addition to the DDD.

Or maybe it's just a God deal... He's always taken such good care of me, and I've always felt that it wasn't so much for MY benefit, but because one of my children is destined for something great, and I'm just along for the ride...He's taking care of me so that I can take care of them. Whatever the reason, I feel truely blessed nonetheless.

I'll keep you posted.

Mark, how do you get pictures into the post like that? I tried once, but all it did was put a link to the picture...And I'd LOVE the other pictures you have whenever you get the chance! Thank you...

Wishing all the best for all of us here!
Jess
__________________
36 year old mom of 7 in SC.

MRI 4/2008 shows bulging disc with annular tear @ 4/L5 and and complete herniation at L5/S1.

9/11/08 Laminectomy , successful to a point...relieved nerve pain, but after 4 months was still having severe disc pain.

Treatments tried: epidural shots, oral pain killers, NSAID's, TENS massage, chiropractic care, deep tissue massage. Oh, and plenty of our homemade wine!

May 26 2009, 2 level ADR, L4-S1, Dr. Bertagnoli, Straubing, Germany
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:54 PM
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OK Jess, you pushed too much

I realize you want to enjoy the rest of your life as soon as possible but taking it slow is the best way to do just that. Four half hour walks are much better than 1 two hour walk.

Don't make me fly all the way over to Paris just to keep you in check. Please (don't) make me come over there... I'm warning you, (don't) make me do it.

Enjoy, just not too much, Dale
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3 level Prodisc adr S1-L3, Oct 12, 2005
Dr. B in Bogen, Germany
Severe nerve damage in left leg, still working on it
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Old 06-04-2009, 02:02 AM
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Jess,

I'll show you how to post them... is the PJ's photo OK?

Actually, the trick is to be able to put the picture up on the internet somewhere where you can link to them. Marty may have a website that he can use. I just FTP the photos up to one of my websites, then click on the photo icon above... It inserts code that looks like

{img}http:www.ispine.org/picture_library/picture_name{/img}

You have to use square braces instead of curly braces for this to work. Also, you must resize the images so they display at a reasonable size. If you put a high resolution image up, it will take too long to download and will display larger than your screen.

I'm so happy that you are doing well... it's an amazing thing to go through... getting your life back. I have not spoken to Cathy and Bob... is she OK?

Mark
__________________
1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
President: Global Patient Network, Inc.
Founder: www.iSpine.org
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Old 06-04-2009, 03:26 AM
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Posts: 349
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Hi Jess

I am amazed that you are doing so well, You are an inspiration Please take it slow.

"I can't help but wonder if the reason I'm doing so well is because I was able to have the surgery before my spine degenerated to a point where I was having a myriad of other problems in addition to the DDD."

I could not agree more, I hope my condition has not passed that point


All The Best

Gil
__________________
L5-S1 lam 1994
L2 to L5 DDD
L3 -L4 hern Dec 2007.
L4-L5 Annular fissure with mild central stenosis and moderate facet hypertrophy.
L5-S1DDDDD
L2-L3 Right-sided neural foraminal narrowing at and L3-L4 related to posterolateral hypertrophic spurs and facet hypertrophy.
C3-C4 limited DDD
9 injections Depo. P.T. 13 months 5 dose packs,
Nerve Block Injections.4 ESI S1
L5-S1 foraminotomy 09
L4-L5 Microdiscectomy 09 Reherniate 4-2010
Coflex-L Implants L4 to S1
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:18 AM
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Mark,

As I recall, when you caught Catherine and I on the balcony in our PJ's, it was rather chilly out......so probably not (Ladies, I'm sure you know what I mean). I'll try and figure it out...I have a lot of photos that I want to upload onto the web (like snap fish, maybe), so maybe I'll try what you suggested later.

Yesterday was a lazy day in the hotel. I didn't go anywhere until Marty came back from work. I forced myself to rest and nap, and honestly, it didn't do much good; all it did was keep me awake until 4:00 this morning But we went on our treck to the tower, taking the underground Metro to get there, and spent about an hour just standing in line. This wasn't very good as my back and hip muscles prefer to be moving about, and my left foot started swelling. After about 20 minutes of standing, I remembered that I could tighten up the back brace a little more, and once I did that, it helped relieve the soreness of standing. We finally made it to the top, where I quickly found out that I was way underdressed! It was windy and cold, plus it was getting late and we were hungry, so we didn't stay too long.

This morning, I woke up with mild aches and pains, but my meds had worn off in the night, so once I had some breakfast and took 2 lortabs, I'm feeling better. I've noticed that my hip muscles get very achey, and I attribute that to the streching of my spine due to the restored disc height, and the fact that the brace might be helping to settle some of the "load" (for lack of a better term) onto my hips. Plus, I've been doing a lot of walking that I haven't been able to do in months, and it feels wonderful! Besides, I'll take muscle aches over that little man who used to follow me around stabbing me in the spine with a hot poker any day of the week!!!

I still have some weakness in my left leg that I'm sure is due to the surgical site being on my left side, as there is mild pain in the leg directly below the incision when I try to lift it. My incision is healing and itching like crazy! My belly is still distended and swollen from the surgery; I look about 4 months pregnant. How long does THAT last?

Anyway, I might venture out today a little, but not too far, as Hubby will come home from work tonight and play tour guide for me...this is my first time here, but he's been here jillions of times for work....I know, poor him! (Sweetie, I know you're reading this, and I LOVE YOU!!! )

I'll try to call treefrog tonight. I've got her number at the hotel, and I've been watching closely for her to post anything, but since I haven't seen her online, I'll call and see how she's doing and give an update, if she says it's okay.



Au revior for now
Jess
__________________
36 year old mom of 7 in SC.

MRI 4/2008 shows bulging disc with annular tear @ 4/L5 and and complete herniation at L5/S1.

9/11/08 Laminectomy , successful to a point...relieved nerve pain, but after 4 months was still having severe disc pain.

Treatments tried: epidural shots, oral pain killers, NSAID's, TENS massage, chiropractic care, deep tissue massage. Oh, and plenty of our homemade wine!

May 26 2009, 2 level ADR, L4-S1, Dr. Bertagnoli, Straubing, Germany

Last edited by jessmith07; 06-04-2009 at 11:45 AM. Reason: added picture
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