Frank soon learned that his insurance covered only a limited number of procedures. Before seeing Dr. Light, he underwent one surgical procedure to attempt to fix some of his injuries; a discectomy to remove the damaged portions of his discs. However, the pain returned and got much worse. Frank also suffered nerve damage in the accident which affected his right leg.
"I was in great pain and was on massive amounts of painkillers"
Frank says that since undergoing the disc replacement procedure the pain is largely gone and he can now walk more normally. He will next have a procedure done by Dr. Light to replace the damaged discs in his neck.
Dr. Light says that fusions are appropriate in many cases, especially where no other treatment will help, but that disc replacement can help a person regain movement and mobility, rather than having their vertebrae "frozen", which can lead to significant side effects including chronic pain and increased stress to adjacent vertebrae.
Until recently, the only course of treatment for people with certain back injuries has been a spinal fusion procedure, which is done to stabilize the spine and to prevent further damage to the injured area. However, spinal fusion has several disadvantages including a variable loss of range of movement in the treated areas and in many cases, recurring pain and further damage to the spine.
Total disc replacement using a device called the “ProDisc-L or C "Implant may be appropriate for many patients” says Dr. Light, “Artificial disc replacement is an attempt to fix complicated back and neck injuries without resorting to a spinal fusion.” The implants are designed to maintain the range of motion in the spine - an added benefit is shortened recovery time for most patients. “I believe that artificial disc replacement will eventually replace 70% to 80% of all spinal fusion surgeries," says Dr. Light.
For more information visit http://drkennethlight.com or call 415-673-4500.
About Dr. Light:
Dr. Kenneth Light graduated from the Cornell University College of Medicine in New York City. He completed his residency in Orhopaedic Surgery at the University of California in San Francisco., and completed a fellowship in spinal surgery under the guidance of Edward H. Simmons at the State University of New York in Buffalo. Dr. Light was director of the spine clinic at San Francisco General Hospital, and was founder and medical director of the San Francisco Spine Center at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital.
He is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery, is board certified with the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery and Assistant Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at University of California, San Francisco. He is currently in private practice in San Francisco where he specializes in reconstructive surgery in patients who have had failed back surgery.