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Cervical Disc Replacement Stories

We have a long list of satisfied disc replacement patients (over 1000) here are some who agreed to share their story.
You can also watch our video collection > >

Dr. David Noonan|M6 Cervical Disc Replacement C5-6 C6-7|May 2013
I walked through the front door, I noticed how immaculate and well kept the place was. Then I saw it, the Spinal Kinetics M6 artificial disc implant, the reason I came here. I suddenly felt at ease, like I belonged here!
I met with Dr. Ritter-Lang this afternoon. He was very forthcoming about his experience with this disc and with disc replacement in general. He has performed thousands. My research was only confirmed.
I got out of surgery around noon and woke up in the ICU. I must take a second to say how different and wonderful this hospital and the care here is compared to any other I've seen or heard of. The attentiveness was off the charts. Never did I have to wait for more that 30 seconds for a request! No I’m not exaggerating! These people make me feel like I am at home and that the room I'm staying in is mine and that they really care about my comfort and my outcome here! Have you ever NOT wanted to leave a hospital?
Resting, Reparing, Healing and Walking
We are averaging approximately 5-7 miles of walking each day. I'm optimistic looking forward as the function of my neck is really good. The fact that I'm able to do the things I'm doing the week after such an invasive procedure is amazing.
I have researched and found the Spinal Kinetics M6 Disc Replacement to be the best bet for long term outcome because of its ability to mimic the movements of the natural disc. Dr. David Noonan's Videos and Full Story > >

Kurt, M6 Cervical Disc Replacement C6-7 C7-T1
October 2011

I am an Extreme athlete. I have been my entire life. I suffered from intense pain in my neck; middle back; shoulders; elbows and hands for ten years!
After a final surfing accident in Indonesia, I was all but crippled! I had no strength in my arms and hands! As well as I could not move my neck at all with out massive pain!!! I was in bad shape!
I flew to Singapore. They wanted to operate immediately! Fusion! C6 - C7 ; C7 - T1. I stopped the process and researched " The Best spinal surgeon in the world " And there was Dr. Karsten Ritter-Lang! Thank God!
The Operation was a snap! I was out of bed the next day! And riding a bicycle on the fourth day! We flew home the tenth day with absolutely NO PAIN! Amazing!!!
I returned to surfing a short 12 weeks later! I immediately traveled to Mexico where I surfed amazing 12ft surf without pain! And now I do everything! EVERYTHING! As a matter of fact I feel 10 years younger! I feel better than ever!

kurt on a big one Thank you Dr. Ritter-Lang and Sue Hart
for giving me my life back!!!!!

Kurt - 4 months after surgery!

More pics and Kurt's full story > >

Richard, L4/L5 & C6/C7 Spinal Kinetics M6 Disc Replacement
June 2013

After having had a Discectomy at L4/L5 back in 2001, "a substantial portion of a Disc Protrusion was removed" I had a couple of good years with no pain. Then, pain started coming back.
As the years progressed the pain just kept getting worse and worse.
So, after doing much Research and finding a place that did Laser Surgery where they remove more of the Disc, I could not see that doing me any good as I would keep losing Disc Space just to delay the issue into the future and the only other option was a Fusion!
Then I found Doctor Ritter-Lang's site.
Much reading and research, chatting with Case Manager Colleen, I made a decision; if it was good enough for a Nurse who had similar issues then it should be good for me!
I went with the Base Knowledge of how I was after my prior Surgery; Oh how wrong I was! When I woke up I was confused, did they do anything?
I don't feel anything, no pain, no restrictions, no nothing! Nothing bad that was. After my original Discectomy Surgery I could not move for over a week, my back had no movement at all and if I moved wrong I went into great pain. Not fun!
This time I could move, I could sit up; it was like, before I ever had a bad back!
Next day out came the Catheter and up I went for a walk around the Hospital grounds! Had to be careful not to dislodge the Implants but it was amazing how nice it was to be pain free after 10 years and to be able to move normally and naturally!
A week in Hospital, then off to Bremen for another week in the Hotel.
Spent that week walking all over the city and taking in the Sites and History of it. Did more walking in that week than I have ever been able to do in the past 2 plus years!

Updated: Oct 1, 2013
Here I am now at the 3 month mark and all is still amazing!
My mood is better, I am happier, I stand straighter, I am able to do things that I only did with trepidation before.
I have my Life Back!

Read Richard's full story here >>

Lumbar Disc Replacement - 2005
Cervical Disc Replacement - 2011

In 2005 Heidi came to us for lumbar disc replacement with Dr. Ritter-Lang.
In 2011 she returned for a two level
cervical disc replacement with the
Spinal Kinetics M6 disc replacement.

Louis, Spinal Kinetics M6 Disc Replacement C3-4 C6-7
October 2011
My trail to Dr. Ritter-Lang began August 1, 1997 after a car accident, which whiplash ruptured C4/5 disc and bulging discs C3/4 and C5/6. Seventeen months later I had a fusion plate (the US Gold Standard) surgery across C4/5/6. In the last 3 years my fingers were tingling, my arms lost strength, and pain was shooting down my arms and legs. In 2009 local surgeons said nothing could be done. In 2011 things were worse, I needed help fast.
By August 31st I had consulted with two local US surgeons and one exclaimed that C3/4 was over 80% compressing the spinal cord and C6/7 was degenerating with ostyophytes, both needed immediate action - like C3/4 within two weeks. All he could do is remove the existing plate and fuse C3 to C7 - Yikes!
We left for a vacation in Germany. Our conversation with on-site staff surgeon Dr. Speller and international coordinator was professional, yet warm and personable - pure organic. They offered the SpinalKinetics M6-C.
Read about the M6-C and you will find the center of rotation about the spinal cord is proper and the fabrication of the disc and plates is pretty cool engineering.
October 29th at 0900 I began a renewed life without tingling fingers, arm, neck, shoulder and leg pain after Dr. Ritter-Lang and the staff installed the M6-C into C3/4 and C6/7. Before surgery, Dr. Ritter-Lang met with me and agreed not to fuse C6/7 if he could squeeze in an M6-C. He made it happen!
The staff are fantastic; massage by Hans, spot-on service-oriented care from the nurses, professionally smart physical therapists, and cheerfully intelligent doctors.
The M6-C worked! Although some muscles were uncomfortable at times, by 62 days I was totally pain free from the belly up. I hadn't felt this good since July 1997. A year later in 2012, I am doing so much more than ever expected by the US doctors. I am totally satisfied.
Please schedule your consultations through Jim Rider and Sue Hart; they are the go to people for scheduling and coordination.
Read the full story here >>

Kirk, M6 Cervical Disc Replacement at C5-6, above fusion,
Jan 2007.

After 4 years of increasing pain, Kirk had a fusion of C6-C7 in 2002.
Nov 2006, after seeing more doctors than he can count, Kirk has been diagnosed with DDD (Degenerative Disc Disease), the failure of discs to maintain the normal spacing between the vertebrae. Combined with a moderate level of spinal arthritis, the fusion has put increasing pressure on the nerve roots leaving the spine, especially at C5-C6. After much deliberation, Kirk scheduled a disc replacement surgery on January 11, 2007 in Germany.
Jan 11, The most painful part was the insertion of the first IV (which really wasn't too bad, thanks to Dr. Geller). The surgery took about an hour and a half. Next thing Kirk knew, he was in the wakening Room, just adjacent to the surgical theatres.
Jan 12, after getting off the morphine pump much earlier than normal, Kirk was walking around and generally annoying the other Americans.
Jan 17, Kirk is finally out of the hospital!
Jan 22, Kirk's neck is doing pretty well, getting slowly better each day. The train ride wasn't as much of a problem as it might have been a few weeks prior, and the walking wasn't bad either. Each day is different, but it seems like there is some hope that the surgery had a significant positive effect.
Update; April 2008, Work has kept Kirk quite busy, but he has managed to do some light construction projects, expanding his parachute service facility. With the weather warming up, Kirk is planning to do some jumps, as time permits. This may take a little warming up, but it is now quite reasonable to consider. It is hard to even remember that, before surgery, the pain made these activities, simply, unthinkable.
Read the full story at http://www.para-concepts.com/kirk/

Felicia, 3 level M6 Cervical Disc Replacement,
Sept 2008.

I have had neck pain for over 10 years. All the doctors told me that I did not want surgery. The only option in the U.S. was to fuse, and there were no guarantees I would be pain free. My surgeon in the U.S. was familiar with the M6. I had three cervical disc replacements and have had no trouble at all. The experience in Germany was great, I felt like I was on vacation. The hospital and staff were wonderful.
June 2010 Update
Fleicia is doing so well that she competed in the Eppie’s Great Race!
A “no swim” triathlon in Sacramento CA. She ran 5.82 miles, biked 12.5 miles, and paddled a kayak 6.35 miles.

Chuck, Disc Replacement C4-5 C6-7, November 2006.
Had previous fusion C5-6 C3-4!
In 1975 I had a cervical fusion at level C-5-6 with C-4-5 also damaged. I continued to coach wrestling and competitively water ski jump until 1990 when I ruptured another disc but this time at level C3-4. Again I received a fusion and had many problems which started to show up from 1995 on. Numbness and loss of strength in my arms. Luckily my arms slowly came back but all the doctors said I needed a multi level fusion at levels C4-5, and level C6-7. Finally I heard about Dr. Ritter-Lang. After much research by myself and my neurosurgeon in Chicago I felt confident in going with Dr. Ritter-Lang. My decision was made by the number of operations performed , the openness and accessibility of the doctors and staff for evaluation and discussion of my situation and options. I also liked the disc that they were using. I was a little apprehensive at first about receiving medical treatment abroad but a neighbor of mine in Fla. who was chief cardiovascular surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Jaxonville, Fla. told me to not worry as he had operated there with german surgeons and that in his estimation they were as good or better in neorosurgery and heart and brain surgery. Armed with these assurances and having phoned and had conversations with other patients from the US my wife and I went to Germany on November 23, 2006, The whole experience was very well orchestrated from my arrival at the airport through my departure. It was a great experience from the fact that we were more relaxed to see other American and foreign patients there at the same time. They schedule the foreigners on the same days. Since I already knew the routine from two previous operations I was able to ditch the walker after about an hour. The staff and anesthesiologist came every day to regulate your pain. Great care was given to constantly monitor everything especially making sure you had heparin to prevent clots. I never had such well educated caring people as the staff there. They were always right there in a moments notice and genuinely showed their high level of expertise and desire to make me comfortable and safe. I was supposed to spend a week there in the hospital and a week in recuperating in Bremen at a 5 star hotel (Very excellent I might add) but I was able to progress rapidly and left on Monday morning for the hotel. On Tuesday I walked with my wife around downtown Bremen for around five hours. I would be less and less sore each day. We stayed a week and then went back to our home in Chicago. I had pain levels of 8-10 every day for 12 years. After the operation the burning down my arm slowly went away and rarely ever is noticible. I have gained strength and sleep much better. I used to not be able to sleep for hours after getting in bed now I sleep soundly and my wife says I even snore. Most days are a 0 pain level with the worst ones being a 2!!! This is a far cry from the pain I used to have when every minute of every day used to occupy my mind with thinking of the pain. I can't tell people enough about the level of care I recived, I have golfed a little with no soreness. Can ride my motorcycles again with no numbness in my arms which used to occur after 10 minutes!! I have started to water ski again(no jumping ever again) and look forward to snow skiing again. My general condition and strength have improved without ever having to exercise. If any one is contemplating surgery I would highly recommend Dr. Ritter-Lang. I would not even consider having another spinal operation anywhere but there. I believe they are 5-10 years ahead of the U.S. doctors. I have no pain at all from the discs and everyone who knows me tells me they can't believe how much more mobility I have gained.
I would again like to thank everyone for giving me my life back.

Steve, Disc Replacement C4-5 C5-6 fusion C3-4,
Dec 2006.
My trip to Germany started New Years eve 1980 when I was hit by a drunk driver. I planted my head into a windshield twice and suffered a moderate to severe “whiplash” and compression. At this point the process of degenerative disc disease began. If I had not been a young athlete, I would likely have broken my neck. Being physically fit allowed me to survive the violence of this accident. I spent the next 26 years suffering from moderate to severe neck pain. Towards the end (last 6 years) I had severe episodes of pain and began losing the use of my hands. I ended up on disability and it was at that time I made the decision to go to Germany. Please note that I did a lot of research prior to making the commitment. It was not a decision made lightly. I made sure I had the support of my wife and we both realized this was my best chance to get back to a normal life.
Through the years, I had spent a small fortune on physical therapy, epidural injections and pain management consultants. I had tried many different combinations of pain blockers and pain killers, yoga, physical therapy and denial. At the end: if I was comfortable, I was too impaired to work. If I did not manage the pain I was too uncomfortable to work. Looking up (while shaving for example) sent shooting pains down my arms. A car ride on a bumpy road was agonizing. I was no longer able to do anything physical, my weight started to increase. I was becoming increasingly irritable and depressed. Although it was discussed in many consultations, I never wanted to have a three level fusion - Fusion was the only option the US doctors offered. I believed then and still believe today that a three level fusion would have inhibited my ability to safely do many of things I considered part of a life lived well. I did not qualify for studies in the US at the time and I was not willing to be in a blind study where I might be fused at all levels.
I had three discs removed, two replaced with ADR(C4-5 and C5-6) and one Scient-X cage fusion at C3-4. Surgery is never fun, but I never had to wear a collar, I started physical therapy the day after surgery and I was off painkillers (except for Tylenol) 2 days after surgery. I was very conservative. I stayed off work for two months post surgery. By the end of two months, I started riding my horses again; another eight weeks I was weight training, scuba diving and trophy fishing. I was even able to go back to acrobatic flying (all are things I had not done for years.)
Now I am 2 years out and I am doing virtually anything I want to do. I ride my horses, work around my house, weight train, road race, fly, sail, fish, golf… I lead as full a life as any one I know and I am only looking for more! I must stress that I do my exercises religiously and that does make a difference. You will absolutely get out of the experience what you put into the experience. It takes work.
There is no question that my decision to go to Germany was the right one. I only wish that I had made the decision earlier.

Chris, Disc Replacement C3-4 C6-7, Nov 2005
Previous fusion C5-6

Chris reported; "Pain includes both shoulders and biceps in addition to numbness in fingers, hands, and arms. Also experience numbness from neck down when head is moved back. MRI and C-Scan reveal existing fusion at C5-C6. Recent injury at C3-C4 (herniation) and C4-C5 (herniation/bulge). Spinal narrowing and compression evident with malaisia present at C3-C4 herniation. Patient is a 44 year old male and in very good condition. Height 5,10" and Weight is 192lbs".
Chris had a 2 level cervical disc replacement November 2005 and was up and out of the hospital in 3 days, he enjoyed the rest of his stay in Germany and returned to work at his business upon his return home, just 2 weeks later.

Cris Cathey, Disc Replacement C4-5 C6-7 Fusion C5-6,
March 2005
I had neck pain for four years with a range on conservative treatments from acupuncture to facet injections. Finding the GetADR web site changed my life. I did not want to have the typical cervical fusion so I was excited when I found out about disc replacement. I had a three level surgery, two disc replacements and one cage with a plate and screws. I had no disc left at C5-6 so a cage had to be put in. I was immediately pain free and have never taken as much as an aspirin since surgery. What a relief to finally be pain free and living life again. The staff are the best. It was the wisest decision I ever made and was glad I waited to have disc replacement.

Steve Cowen, Disc Replacement C5-6 C6-7,
Sept 2005

Prior to disc replacement, Steve reported "Consistent, severe pain in left shoulder and down left arm. Now, I'm doing great. Some residual numbness/stinging in my thumb, index and middle finger on my left hand but that's just a minor annoyance and it just comes and goes. I'm very happy with where things are at.
Update - August 2009; I play soccer, sing in a rock band, hike, work, wrestle with my kids, probably do more than a "normal" 49 year old. I have almost no residual symptoms, and even then it's brought on by poor posture and is rare, once or twice a month for a couple of minutes.
Couldn't be happier!

Jonathan Hart, Disc Replacement C3/4 C4/5,
June 2005
Jonathan is doing well in terms of the horrible herniation pain being gone and the nerve pain in his arms and hands has subsided. He had absolutely no complications at all and was the first of his group to be released from the hospital and move on to the beautiful Park Hotel which our family enjoyed immensely! He is still having another area of pain from the damaged muscles in his neck area from the car accidents he was in that left a lot of scar tissue in those muscles. That may take a lot longer to heal. But if the herniation pain was 60% of his pain and the muscle pain was 40%, then the 60% herniation pain is gone and he is just dealing with the 40% muscle pain and tension headaches that result from those muscles constantly knotting up. Consequently he is on much less medication and is sleeping through the night most nights and is not confined to his recliner in constant chronic pain. He is up and about, functioning normally a much larger part of the day, usually morning and afternoon. By evening, the muscles start to tense up and the headache will start in, but he has a much more functional life now and is using far less meds for pain.
Overall, we're extremely happy we went to Germany, because it was the only option for Jonathan, already having had two fusions in his neck. We knew we did not want to have anymore fusions no matter what and were willing to take a leap of faith and fly to Germany for disc replacement. We felt the hospital was first rate and the staff was warm and compassionate and caring. The setting was beautiful and relaxing like being at a spa for 2-1/2 weeks. We also felt God leading us to do this and felt him blessing the entire trip as it all flowed so smoothly and everything fell into place.
Even though I had our 11 year old son with us, I still got to relax a lot and he and I had a great time bicycling around the German countryside discovering little shops and bakeries and going into town shopping, while Jonathan was recuperating. We spent about 50% of the time keeping him company in the hospital and the rest of the time enjoying the area. Jonathan even felt well enough to go site seeing the last couple days we were there and we took a train to Hamburg to see some sites. It seems that the stretching of the neck that occurs with two ADR implants put a lot of strain on the damaged muscles in his neck and they are still adjusting to being stretched but doctors at home assure us that will eventually calm down and we do see that slowly subsiding a bit more each day, but Jonathan still has to be very careful not to overdo it in terms of his activity level.
People at home are amazed at what we did and think the whole prospect sounds too scary. We felt that way at first but after doing a lot of research and getting all of our questions answered and talking to former patients, the fears begin to dissipate and confidence in going to another country for surgery builds until it becomes the only option that makes sense!

Patricia, Disc Replacement C5-6,
Jan 2006

My wife Patricia suffered with severe migraines for years due to a car accident when she was in her teens. It was found that she had bone spurs between C-6 and C-7. She required shots at urgent care, Imatrex, etc. for years just to function. A fusion approx. 8 years ago at those levels with a plate gave her some relief but as we found out it usually progresses to the next level every five years or so requiring another fusion. We tried that approx. a year ago and the fusion failed. More pain, more medication and the prospect of surgery again to re-do the fusion. The internet is a wonderful thing. It allowed us to find Dr. Ritter-Lang, make contact , and eventually talk to several patients from the U.S. that had been to the hospital for surgery. After Pat's last surgery here she could not talk properly, drink or eat for several days due to the swelling etc. around the incision. It was so bad she went back to be sure nothing serious was wrong. At Stenum she was asking for breakfast the morning after surgery! Pretty amazing!  She was walking and talking . I couldn't believe the difference. We walked approx. 4 miles or more a day only seven days after her surgery. I am the worlds biggest skeptic and we called LOTS of people before we went but I must tell you. If I ever have a need for a disc replacement there's no question where I would go.
Update 2012: "We are still riding the tandem and doing very well thanks to the whole team over there."

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