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Bulging Disc, possible surgery
newyorkdawn posted:
Hi. I am new to this site and am looking for advice or any others with simliar issues. I have had lumbar back pain for going on 9 years now and have been to chiroprators to neurologists to neurosurgeons who have told me that "sometimes science doesn't have the answer" to my back pain. I was told by the chiropractor back in 2003 that I have mild scoliosis in my upper back but I have no issues with my upper back other than occassional neck pain. I have been to Pain management and received steroid shots, PT and countless meds. I have a bulging disc at my L5 and stenosis. I have just seen a different Neurosurgeon who has offered a minimal invasive procedure using a device called coflex-F. I am curious about this procedure and the healing process. i am not big on surgery and am struggling with this decision. I have been told that this procedure has a very high sucess rate (95% to 100%). I know my issues are small compared to a lot of others here but I don't know where else to turn for answers.
Rafael Levin, MD, MSc responded:
The coflex-F device is primarily used for cases of symptomatic lumbar stenosis that generally improves with positional changes such as with flexion and sitting and is primarily due to soft tissue such as a disc buldge. As in other inter-spinaous distraction devices it should be understood tha the predictability of success with this operation is more in treating leg pain (from stenosis) than for back pain. Either way, do not expect a 95-100% success rate with any surgery, certainly not a spine operation for back pain. You may have mis-understood the surgeon. If not, please consult with another spine surgeon to avoid false expectations. In my practice I have had good success with relief of leg pain (about 85%) with the selective use of inter- spinous devices similar to the coflex. Do not feel rushed to make a decision, and remember that there is only limited long term data on this procedure which is otherwise safe and relatively minimally invasive. Certainly, another opinion by a spine surgeon performing these kind of procedures would be very reasonable for you to consider.

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