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  1. #1
    U sayin' Bolt ?
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    Failed 3rd back surgery in US, 1 Hour procedure fixed everything

    Hey guys, not sure where else to go but could really use some kind words.
    Last edited by knutso; 01-20-2014 at 09:41 AM.

  2. #2
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    Sorry to hear that. Keeping positive is really all the advice I can give. Good luck brother.
    I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals, I just hate vegetables.

  3. #3
    Stupid is, as stupid does
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    What's wrong? can you still ride?

    I had 4 failed surgeries on my sciatic nerve. Now there is scar tissue on it. I am in constant pain. My doctor gave me the wonderful diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. I take probably 5 different nerve & pain meds for it. It terribly depresses me. Especially having to take Oxy's 3 times a day. Every day. I feel like a ****ing addict. Plus the pain is still always there. It makes being motivated to ride very difficult. But once I get out everything seems to fade away. The is only my breathing and the legs furiously pumping.
    2012 Ibis Mojo HD (153mm 650B)
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  4. #4
    U sayin' Bolt ?
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    Thanks fellas, I am laid up and unable to walk so any encouragement helps. My disc is truly shot and my nerve is pinched to high heck. Just waiting on the MRI machine.

    Not the end of the world, just need to get some hardware installed. I am leaning towards a minimally invasive XLIF fusion stateside but will consult with a doctor in England or Spain about getting one of these bad boys, the same thing Retief Goosen got. Either way I should be riding in 6 months.

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  5. #5
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    Good luck, I hope it works out for you. I've had two low back surgeries. About 9 months after the second surgery pain was still bad and walking/standing up was distracting, so I decided to get serious about yoga to the point where I started working toward an instructor certification. The focus on proper body alignment eventually made the pain subside after about 4 months of daily yoga practice--simple, basic stuff, nothing fancy. Leg nerves still act strangely at times, but about 75% of days are pain free. I sympathize with that pain you are having--it is hard to explain how debilitating that can be if you haven't been there.

  6. #6
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    Best wishes to a speedy recovery. I'm sure to be down the same path in the future. I live in pain daily and the Dr's don't want to do a thing till I can't walk anymore. T8 break with collapsed disks.

  7. #7
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    I went to Spain and got the above pictured Spinal Kinetics M6 L implanted by Dr Pablo Clavel. He was able to decompress both my nerve roots, remove my totally busted up disc and replace it with a device that is orders of magnitude stronger and more durable than the natural human disc while functioning in exactly the same way.

    1 hour and 15 minute procedure. Whereas, stateside, because of Johnson and Johnson's patent hoarding I was limited to either getting bolted together or having an entirely inferior artificial disc implanted ( prodisc ) either way I was looking at a procedure of multiple hours with serious muscle trauma. To get the M6 in, Dr. Clavel, who has placed the M6 in 2000 patients ( 60% of them at multiple levels ) with only one device-related complication, needed one incision on the side of my stomach and did not have to cut a single muscle.

    Anyway, it is a freaking miracle. The natural lumbar curve of my spine was restored instantly and both my legs are begininng the long journey back to neurological health. I was walking all over the city of Barcelona within a week after my procedure and even did a 3.5 hour walk to the beach and back to my hotel, at 2 weeks, without any pain beyond the incision and no further neurological irritation.

    I can swim at 1 month, up my PT at 6 weeks, lift 50 lbs at 2 months, ride my bike at 3 months, ski at 6 months and lift heavy weights at 1 year. I will likely never ski or lift heavy weights but good to know that the confidence is there.

    Anyway, anyone with a shot disc, contact Dr Clavel's office at the Barcelona Spine Center, for at least a Skype consultation. The hospital he operates at and the nurses are all A1 first class and very impressive. Total cost was 40k including hotel, taxes and everything else; I should get some money back from my BCBS which is not at all unprecidented.

    Thanks to everyone who sent me good wishes!

  8. #8
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    Great news...glad it turned out well. How long since you had the surgery, and do you live in the US?

  9. #9
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    Thanks! I am 3.5 weeks out. I live outside of Portland.

    I am amazed at how much progress I feel every time I stretch, walk or do PT. This ADR is really a great mechanical platform to rehab with.

    Doc said he has implanted over 3000 of the US made M6s and only had one move out of place ( he said the patient admitted to severely overdoing it during his early recovery ), 99% of his patients have not needed another operation at the implanted level.

    I find it hard to swallow that our tax dollars go to keeping this treatment illegal and protecting J&J's market position, which it thusly neglects advancing because it is already dominant and protected. Some idiot approves too broad a patent and millions suffer for a decade or more. J&J did not even earn the patent. They just bought it when they realized how broad it was.

    If anyone wants the mechanical testing data PM me your email, its impressive. The device tested to withstand the force of deadlifting 1200+lbs 30,000 times while maintaining perfect structural integrity, this after undergoing tens of millions of cycles of other compression, motion, torsion, creep and shear testing without any failure of structural components or in its maintaining natural mechanical function.

  10. #10
    Now, THAT'S gonna hurt!
    Reputation: Oh My Sack!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knutso View Post
    The device tested to withstand the force of deadlifting 1200+lbs 30,000 times while maintaining perfect structural integrity...

    Pfffft That's ALL?!

    Surely I'd have this worn out within a week or so.


  11. #11
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    I agree, I'm dealing with a bad back but have been affraid to try surgery plus doc's don't recommend it since I'm not crippled (YET!)

    PS- I love orthoguy's quote about vegetarianism!
    the upper echelon of mediocrity

  12. #12
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    Knutso - great news you are doing so well.

    Spunkmtb, sorry you are hurting so bad.

    I have had much terrible low back pain but the second fusion L3-L4-S5 helped a lot. Most people don't understand how awful back pain is. It hurts your back, your brain, your attitude toward life in general.

    Best wishes to all,
    Terry

  13. #13
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    For what it's worth I now have a Prodisc at the L5 S1. I had a discectoemy back in 2010 for a herniated disc. It worked OK until I got rear ended last may. Blew the disc out bad again. Had the surgery in Dec and I was doing great in less than a month. Just have some nerve damage from the herniation. I have a constant twitch and leg cramps in my left calf. My physical therapist is a pro racer and he said the best thing I can do is get a full suspension 29er and get back on the bike. So that's what I'm going to do. It can be a loooooong journey but keep your head up, attitude is everything.

    Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk

  14. #14
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    Does that prosthetic come with wireless compression and rebound damping adjustments? Just kidding of course. I am recovering from my second L5 S1 discectomy last month. I expect I'll need one of those prosthetics next time. Thank goodness for orthopedic surgeons.

    Glad to hear you are doing so well.

  15. #15
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    Knutso

    Gosh, I am happy for you. Indeed, it seems like a miracle.

    TR

  16. #16
    U sayin' Bolt ?
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    Thanks for all the good wishes guys! Good to hear the ProDisc is rolling, Aphat! JSJ, the longer you can avoid an implant, the better the tech will be when you get one. Maybe you will get those rebound and dampening controls in the end =) I hear you Elder, thanks for your support, very appreciated.

    Getting my 3 month XRay in 2 weeks and then hopefully cleared for running and cycling. I feel perfect and have started to work on a Kurt Kinetic trainer to get some strength up. I am gonna work the trainer until I am super confident, then the road and then the trails.

    I will post my XRay =) Just feels FANTASTIC to have cycling back in my life!

  17. #17
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    Knutson congrats on getting the M6L and implanted by Clavel you can't go wrong. He's got to be the most predominant Surgeon in the world doing this surgery. I must say I envy you as I've been dealing with L4-S1 ruptured discs that have kept me off the bike for about 2 years. Only recently I started ridding but I can't ride any longer than 30 mins and 1-2 times a week. But I refused to get the surgery that most docs here in the US proposed to me. I reached out to Dr Clavel and he stated I'm a perfect candidate for 2-leve ADR but since my injury is a WC case they don't wanna cover the cost even thought it'll save them a ton of money compare to having the surgery in the US. What badders me the most is that this disc is American. It's actually build in California if I'm not mistaken but yet we can't have it. Frustrating!! Unfortunately I can't afford the surgery on my own otherwise I'd have been n Spain a long time ago. Your post gives me hope that one day maybe someway somehow I'll be able to get the surgery and return to a normal live. There's a lot of people who's had it and are doing excellent. Congrats and good luck on your road to recovery. Keep posting here as it does help others who have somewhat similar injuries and gives us the one thing you can never loose. Hope!!!

  18. #18
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    Reputation: jtmartino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knutso View Post
    I find it hard to swallow that our tax dollars go to keeping this treatment illegal and protecting J&J's market position, which it thusly neglects advancing because it is already dominant and protected. Some idiot approves too broad a patent and millions suffer for a decade or more. J&J did not even earn the patent. They just bought it when they realized how broad it was.
    As someone in the drug development industry (closely related to device), this is an interesting position. Did you pay out of pocket for the procedure?

    I'm not sure if you're aware, but doctors are not entirely governed by the FDA in their practice of medicine. There are legal channels by which physicians in the US can utilize non-FDA-approved drugs and devices, assuming malpractice responsibility themselves (or via the institution.) While most doctors may not do this, there are plenty out there who will.

    I agree that the FDA is slow in approvals and requires a large burden of proof of efficacy with minimal side affects, even if the benefit far outweighs any side effects. But that's what the American people wanted, and it has made drugs and devices MUCH safer in the US. It has also driven costs up significantly due to the increased failure rate of investigational drugs and devices.

    I could go on for hours about this. But the reality is that J&J is a business and they're doing their job. They abide by the same regulations as anyone else. If they break the rules, they are punished. If you don't like the rules, you are free to seek a physician who will accommodate you, whether in the US or in another country. But to get angry at J&J is misplaced, IMO. Nearly every company in every industry has the opportunity to buy others if it will increase their product line and be a profitable venture. It's a good thing we don't abide by slacker rules like those in China - development would surely become nonexistent.

    FWIW I work in drug development, but I've supported trials in medical devices.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by knutso View Post
    Thanks for all the good wishes guys! Good to hear the ProDisc is rolling, Aphat! JSJ, the longer you can avoid an implant, the better the tech will be when you get one. Maybe you will get those rebound and dampening controls in the end =) I hear you Elder, thanks for your support, very appreciated.

    Getting my 3 month XRay in 2 weeks and then hopefully cleared for running and cycling. I feel perfect and have started to work on a Kurt Kinetic trainer to get some strength up. I am gonna work the trainer until I am super confident, then the road and then the trails.

    I will post my XRay =) Just feels FANTASTIC to have cycling back in my life!
    Who is handling your follow up care...is it a local doctor?

  20. #20
    U sayin' Bolt ?
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    Check Out my XRay, look Solid ?

    Need Some Stoke, bad.  Failed 3rd back surgery-img_20140408_140253_zpsd5d04789.jpg

    mces, My local doc had no problem ordering XRays for me, just took a phone call. I upload via Dropbox for my surgeon overseas to view. If I have any issues I can see my local neuro who is an artificial disc instructor. If I need further surgery, Dr. Clavel will perform it for no charge ( insurance is included in the procedure, for everyone's peace of mind )

    JMartino, Yep I initially paid for the procedure out of pocket. My insurance company BCBS has paid part of the cost for other patients in the past, so I am waiting for them to mull everything over. Either way, my health is worth every penny. The price 40k was not bad considering it covered everything: 4 nights in the nicest room in the nicest hospital in Barcelona which was far and away the cleanest best kept hospital I have ever been in ( 1000 sq ft multi-room suite, a view and a night translator (hottie) all to myself; 5 consultations, 10 nights in a very nice hotel half a block from Barcelona's main drag and everything else procedure related ).


    I know doctors can use this disc stateside but why would they? In the US, doctors work for insurance companies not patients. Proof is not only in who signs their checks but in this case in point: no US doc has anywhere near the experience nor success rate of the guys who use the state of the art disc overseas and are considered the best in the world. Why? Because insurance won't pay for it so they don't do it. The US system is hashed out and regulated by politicians, big healthcare, insurance companies and the rest of the lot that have their hands in each others' pockets.


    The disc I got was tested far far far more rigourously than the ones that are FDA approved. It has well over 20,000 successful implantations and is the choice of the top surgeons in the world. It releases 20x less particulates into the body and is >10x less likely to cause an allergic reaction. It exhibits all the qualities of ten years of improving on first generation designs ( which are the only options in the US ). This device, however, will not go to FDA trials because the writing is on the wall after the first wave of improved artificial discs passed FDA approval and were promptly sued by J&J and lost due to a very broad patent, just when they were fresh off a $100mil+ FDA trials expenditure.

    Whether or not denying Americans the best care in the interest of J&J getting their money's worth out of a patent, is a matter for debate. I just thank my lucky stars that I pinched my pennies and had enough money to get fixed. I would not hesitate to get me and my family the best care the world has to offer, moving forward, regardless of cost.

  21. #21
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    First, very glad to hear that this worked out for you. Seriously, I am. Crushed/bulging/pinched discs and whatnot are a living hell.

    Second, and this opens up a big ol' can of worms but f u c k the american health care industry! So ridiculous.

    I'm dealing with a multitude of back/neck problems and am currently working on a plan of action regarding what to do about it. I cannot believe how companies and corrupt agencies are able to arbitrarily affect so many people's lives based solely on how much money changes hands. I am beyond furious about what's approved, what's not approved, the cost of care etc. Of the roughly 10 people I know who have had back surgery, only one of them came out of it better than they went in.
    Sorry for the mini-rant.

  22. #22
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    That picture makes your butt look big...

    Sorry, just a bit of disk envy.

  23. #23
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    Any updates Knutso? How are you doing/feeling?

  24. #24
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    This is a very interesting post. I have cervical spinal stenosis and am coming to slowly realize that I may need to give up the fast tech trails that I love so much. I'm a therapist in medical working with elderly so I see the results of not listening to the symptoms - pain, muscle weakness, tingling - all signs that something lurks under the skin.

    While my symptoms are not as bad as I've seen here I want to be proactive. I can still ride, but my neck spasms afterwards, and now has constant never relenting pain on my shoulders and neck region.

    I'm in PT and while this helps, of course it cannot correct or heal the already damaged vertebrae and discs. I could ride mellow XC trails I suppose but that may just frustrate me. I love rough tech trails - the very stuff that irriates my spine.

    How about enduro motorcycle riding? I can get that same speed thrill and with 10"+ of travel. Or is this still just going to cause further aggravation?

    I feel for you OP. I hope you heal quickly
    We Ride In God's Country!

  25. #25
    U sayin' Bolt ?
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    Should've updated sooner.
    I crushed a hard 2 hour road ride yesterday at max effort, out of the saddle for all the climbs and most of the ride, cuz I like it that way ... no issues at all with my back, some tingling in my foot where my l4-l5 nerve is permanently damaged but a totally awesome ride. I can swim, walk/hike for hours, have lots of sex and my PT who is a phd is very impressed and running out of ways to bust my now unbreakable legs.

    Entry scar is a total non issue and range of motion is perfect in my estimation. Gonna start mountain rides is 2 weeks at the 6 month point.

    Big ups everyone and I thank my lucky stars

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