female runner

United States

#41 Apr 6, 2009
curious wrote:
My doctor wants me to have a lumbar disc replacement at L5-S1 using the new FDA approved Pro-disc L. However, I have Humana insurance and they have denied my first two appeals. I am going to try to appeal a third time but am not very optimistic Humana will change their decision. I am now scheduled to have a fusion in late October. I love to run (marathoner) and am scared I will not be able to be a long-distance runner or run at all if I have this type of surgery. Anyone with any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.
i stumble across your post tonight ..are you still running and did you have your surgery? usualy do 2 marathons a year. i started having back pain then leg pain followed by numbness over the entire left leg and foot.mri showed l4 l5 disc ruptured w/nerve damage as well. i am used to doing 50 or so miles a week but since thansgiving running has been very limited. I guess i am asking if you have been able to run again and what is your milage?
curious

Wynne, AR

#42 Apr 6, 2009
Yes...I did have surgery in October. I ended up having a fusion at L5-S1. I am better, but still have my good days and bad. Believe it or not, but sitting at my job all day is what gives me most of my pain. My neurosurgeon has not cleared me for running. I was cleared for the elliptical, swimming, and walking only. I am so depressed about this. I did recently do a 1/2 marathon with a very brisk walk/shuffle at a 12:15 pace. Much slower than my 9:00 but better than not participating at all. I can not seem to get my heart rate up past 135 with anything I seem to do.
I even bought a road bike with hopes that I could start doing road races and that would fill the void from not getting to run. However, much to my dismay, it is not doing it for me. I am a runner! I miss it so badly...I try to stay opitimistic that hopefully I will be able to run again soon but am starting to have my hope dwindle. Heck, I just want to run. I may never be a marathoner again, but would love just to be able to go out for a nice 6 miler a few times a week. I used to be so focused on being fast...spending a lot of time with hill repeats and sprints. Now I don't care how slow I am...I just want to experience the feeling that I can only get from running. I go back to the doctor this Thurs. for x-rays and to see how I am healing. I hope I have not overdone it and that he clears me for light running, but I doubt it. I feel your pain. Thanks for posting. Most people just don't understand how frustrating this is to me and how important running is to my quality of life. What is so bad is, that I also have a bulging disc at L4-L5...I am afraid that when I do start back to running, that the stress on this disc due to the fusion below will cause it to herniate. Good luck with your surgery. If you r insurance will pay for it and your surgeon agrees, I suggest a disc replacement over the fusion. I'll let you know what the doctor says on Thurs. Take Care.
Michelle

Lexington, SC

#43 Apr 24, 2009
curious wrote:
My doctor wants me to have a lumbar disc replacement at L5-S1 using the new FDA approved Pro-disc L. However, I have Humana insurance and they have denied my first two appeals. I am going to try to appeal a third time but am not very optimistic Humana will change their decision. I am now scheduled to have a fusion in late October. I love to run (marathoner) and am scared I will not be able to be a long-distance runner or run at all if I have this type of surgery. Anyone with any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.
I had a ruptured disc at the L5-S1 level in my Lumbar Spine. I live in Texarkana, AR. So I am not too far from you. My insurance denied my claim. I have United Health. However, my neurosurgeon referred me to a Neurologist in Plano, Tx at the Texas Back Institute, Dr. Jack Zigler. He was able to get me accepted in a study of the Freedom Lumbar Disk. If you are accepted, they will pay for the surgery and hospital stay. The only thing you or your insurance would be responsible for is the pre-op clearance from your regular doctor and check-ups thereafter. Which usually just include the co-pay. A total disc replacement surgery costs somewhere in the area of $120,000. I have more info available for you. I hope you havent had your fusion yet. There is a hospital in Shreveport Louisiana that is doing the study as well. Which would be closer for you. If you would like more information on this disk you can google it. Just enter Freedom Lumbar Disk. Or you can email me at mhemt425@yahoo.com, and I can give you more information about it. I completely understand your frustration. But most insurances will not approve this surgery, due to it still being so new. Hope I gave you some helpful information. By the way, if you have already had the fusion, you will not qualify for this study.
Michelle C.
Michelle

Lexington, SC

#44 Apr 24, 2009
JFD123 wrote:
Any clue what the surgery costs without insurance?
My Neurologists told me it costs about $120,000.
Mandy

Dade City, FL

#45 May 18, 2009
Michelle wrote:
<quoted text>
My Neurologists told me it costs about $120,000.
Wow! that is scary I also have united but I live in Florida I am 29 and have a disc severly bulging in L-5 and have had numerous meds and 2 injections this month and a decompression with not many results. I am hoping insurance covers we are waiting to hear from them. I am scheduled for the pro disc surgery on June 17th. I am a wife and mother of three children under the age of nine. So I desperately need my mobility back. I have a hard time going to work too even though I am just part time. Can't wait to see if this works!

Since: Feb 09

Maumelle, AR

#46 May 18, 2009
Mandy wrote:
<quoted text>Wow! that is scary I also have united but I live in Florida I am 29 and have a disc severly bulging in L-5 and have had numerous meds and 2 injections this month and a decompression with not many results. I am hoping insurance covers we are waiting to hear from them. I am scheduled for the pro disc surgery on June 17th. I am a wife and mother of three children under the age of nine. So I desperately need my mobility back. I have a hard time going to work too even though I am just part time. Can't wait to see if this works!
It will work. Just don't go running around immediately after the surgery, TAKE YOUR TIME, for a few days, and FOLLOW the doctor's order.
tana74

Destin, FL

#48 Aug 31, 2009
your neurosurgeon wrote:
read your post. sorry to hear your insurance doesn't want to cover the new technology available for your problem. call me at the office to discuss options.
Please, your neurosurgeon, contact me with any insurance company that will or have paid for the prosthetic disc replacement. I am 34 and need two cervical. They tried to get me to do the fusion. I wanted to wait for the disc replacement, but I'm afraid we will end up with obama care before disc replacement is accepted by insurance company's. Help please.
tana74

Destin, FL

#49 Aug 31, 2009
Mandy,
did you get the PDR? Did United pay? How are you? I too am a mother of 3. I would love to hear more of your story. Please let me know......
Tana
Mandy wrote:
<quoted text>Wow! that is scary I also have united but I live in Florida I am 29 and have a disc severly bulging in L-5 and have had numerous meds and 2 injections this month and a decompression with not many results. I am hoping insurance covers we are waiting to hear from them. I am scheduled for the pro disc surgery on June 17th. I am a wife and mother of three children under the age of nine. So I desperately need my mobility back. I have a hard time going to work too even though I am just part time. Can't wait to see if this works!
Linda

Wasilla, AK

#50 Oct 18, 2009
Shane wrote:
I had an L5-S1 Pro-Disc Replacement and was told that the pain relief should be complete within 12 weeks.For nearly a year I was having lower left back pain and was told that I had DDD and a bulging and herniated L5_S1 disk. I am very sad to say that 12 weeks has past and I am still in quite a bite of pain. My biggest concern is that the pain Is very similar to the pain that I had before my surgery. This has me praying that I was not miss-diagnosed as anyone that has had back surgery knows that it is a tough life experience to go through. Now 12 weeks after the surgery my doctor is starting me on a series of epidurals which also has me nervous . If there is anyone else that had this surgery I would like to here your outcome. If you are thinking about having this surgery I advise you have all test available done to insure that this is the only option .
Shane,
I am less than one week out from having Pro-Disc L surgery. I had two ruptured discs ( and I have ab extra vertebrae) so the doctor replaced both L5-L6, and L6-S1. History made here in Alaska as the first person to have 2 levels done in the lumbar spine at one time.
I had every test imaginable prior to surgery, including provocotive discogram and anesthetic discogram. All indicated that the best treatment would be disc repalcement. As a radiology tech and an EMT is is imperative that I retain natural range of motion. The first two days my only pain was in the abdominal incision. Day three came and with it come back pain - similar to what I had originally. The sciatic pain that had gone away prior to surgery is now coming back. I am not sure if this is to be expected or not. Prior to surgery one of the clerks in my neuro office told m after she had her single level done she never had back pain again.
Did your doctor tell you to expect some back pain post op? I do plan on calling the doctor's office if I don't start improving soon.
Nipster

Spokane, WA

#51 Oct 19, 2009
Howdy all. Wow. I just came across this site as I am about at my wits end. It's so sad to read all of your people's posts. I wasn't going to post but wanted to reply to Shane's post.
I had the ProDisc surgery back in 09/01 @ L4-5. Since then I have been deemed 100% disabled. This has multiple reasons, all due to back probs/pain. I have been dealing with chronic pain since '95 when I first injured my back on the job. Needless to say that life has really been miserable for many, many years. Please don't get me wrong. I used to be an extremely happy-go-lucky guy but daily pain for well over a decade can dull a persons liveliness.
I don't mean to cut this post short as I have so very much to add. I just need to get of the comp right now.
Good luck & the best of health to all of you.

Nipster
Linda

Wasilla, AK

#52 Dec 1, 2009
Update: 7 weeks out after having 2-level Pro-Disc replacement surgery, and while I am having some distraction pain in my back muscles, the sciatic pain is gone! I have been able to really cut back a lot on the pain meds. I've been told the distraction pain can last anywhere from a few months to a year. I started physical therapy today and the therapist noted I had a lot better range of motion already than I had prior to surgery.
So for all of you who are apprehensive, I would say the surgery can be the answer - as long as you know to expect some pain post-op. Given enough time, I hope to be back at 100%
Sally

Hornell, NY

#53 Dec 18, 2009
I had pro disc surgery one year ago and am now disabled. DO YOUR RESEARCH. I had the L5-S1 dis replacement. One month after surgery, my L5 veterbre fractured. Due to not the right size disc or doctor not checking my bone density. Do not have this surgery done if you have osteopenia or osteoporosis. You can not have the disc removed after it is in. If something goes wrong - you are screwed. I feel there is not enough research done on this surgery yet. My surgery costed $60,000. Still in pain - still on pain meds.
Linda

Eagle River, AK

#54 Dec 20, 2009
9 weeks out after 2-level Pro-Disc L and I am back to work! Only one muscle band that still gives me a little soreness, but did not cause me any difficulty getting through my ten hour shift at the hospital where I am on my feet and moving about all the while.
I do not regret the surgery at all, and am impressed with the quick recovery time following such an intensive procedure. My physician, Dr.Cohen, of Anchorage Alaska was very thorough prior to doing the surgery. He did all the right stuff...discograms to ensure my pain was truly coming from the discs, MRI, CT scan, and a bone density exam to ensure there would not be a problem such as Sally (posted prior to this ) had.
I am very pleased with the outcome.I even gained back the 3/4" loss in height that was caused by the disc degeneration. I lost 15 pounds during recovery as the pain meds left me without an appetite, which was a bonus for me. Now if I can lose another 10 I'll be at a perfect weight for myself.
If you are in Alaska and have degenerative disc problems, I would really recommend Dr. Timothy Cohen. While his office staff can be frustrating, as well as the long wait time for the initial appointment, in the end it is worth it as you will have an excellent surgeon working on you.
Nick

Martinsville, VA

#55 Jan 14, 2010
Hi All,

I have been suffering with miserable and debilitating low back pain for 4 years now. I was injured working so workmans comp had control. They treated me terribly and refused to consider any of my wishes, I was given one chance to change doctors and get a second opinion and made the mistake of doing that change while they were still pushing epidurals which I refuse to do. My only other choice from them was a fusion of L5-S1 and L4-L5, their doctors told me it was a herniation of the 2 as well as L3-L4 bulging. I eventually did decompression through a Chiro and felt much better for about 2 years, I reinjured it in 11/08 and have been miserable since. When visiting the dr recently they said that I had a Pars Defect of my L5 vertibrae so my L5 had nothing to lock it in place and it is moving about wrecking the discs around it. My physician suggested a Fusion at L5-S1 since the range of motion there is only 7 degrees, however at L4-L5 they suggested a discreplacement to avoid the issues of compensation later thus weakening and damaging more disns, especially the already weak disc at L4-L3. I am trying to get my insurance company to approve the proceedure and the only stumbling block is the disc replacement. During the procedure they also need to repair the vertibrae which is missing the process on the back that locks them in place.

Does anyone have any advice in how to achieve the approval other than paying a lawyer, I am currently in rough financial straights due to my home I wish I had never bought?
Sara

Big Spring, TX

#56 Jan 14, 2010
Hi Nick,
Do you have an email? I would like to tell you something, but I can't on here.
Nick

Sarasota, FL

#57 Jan 16, 2010
Hi Sara, my email is nicholasdj78@yahoo.com, I am trying to work up an appeal from my issurance as my l4-l5 is 40% gone already and l5s1 is in similar shape.
Joe

Tacoma, WA

#58 Jan 24, 2010
I had the ProDisc-L at my L4-L5 a little over a year ago and things are going smoothly. I am in the Army (which requires a great deal of activity including running) and have returned to good form. NO PROBLEMS from the surgery or the implant. Hopefully it stays that way. Not sure of the cost of surgery because my procedure was completely covered by the military.
James rosch

Mainz, Germany

#59 Feb 11, 2010
READ THIS!!!!!!!! I am writing this from Germany from a clinic I am staying at. I got the prodisc replacement surgery in 2007 from a doctor who has done hondreds of these. I recieved the surgery in
Homburg Saar at the universitaat klinikum from Dr. Eckhard Fritsch.
In Europe they have about 10 years more experience with prodisc lumbar replacement than the states. THE RESULTS ARE NOT GOOD!!!! In fact no doctor in Europe except a few holdouts who are probably in Syntheses pocket will use these on any lumbar disc spaces and NO ONE uses them at L5S1. The wide range of movement allowed by an articulating disc at this level causes severe eventual trauma. Or in worst case scenarios (such as mine) compete dispalcement. Get the level fused. The hips compensate at that level for any movement and the fusion will only strengthen the ability for sport ergonometric motion. If anyone doubts this do your research! You will see I am right. I am facing a removal procedure with the highest mortality rate of any orthopedic surgery. It is called the "orthopedic equivalent of open heart surgery". I am scared to death and hope to save anyone the paiin I have gone through. This is also the reason why your insurance will not cover prodisc lumbar replacement. My email is jamesrosch@yahoo.com if you have any questions. I will email you a picture of my X-Ray.
Good luck!!
fluffy

Cherokee Village, AR

#60 Feb 11, 2010
I was sent to Gera and let me tell you!he has no empathy for women,I swore if I got off the table able to walk out of his office,I would never set foot in there again,and I did not and I will not.I hurt worse after he worked on me.Dr Tonyman worked on my back and the pain running down my leg was gone when I woke up and that was 4 months ago and still no pain.Dr. Tonyman is GREAT!
Roger

Palmer, AK

#61 Mar 8, 2010
I don't have all the figures yet, But for 3 days hospital, the spine DR, and pre-op lab work, 141,000. That of course is not including the anesthesioligist or the other surgeon who did the opening and closing. Still recovering, 16 days post-op.

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