Spring 2006 Issue

An Artificial Disc Was The Perfect Fit For Mike Mariano

Artificial disc patient Mike Mariano with his son, Joshua, and wife, Karin. Mike was completely pain free after receiving the Kineflex disc.
Some say life begins at 40. Mike Mariano would probably agree. After living with intense back pain for 20 years, Mike underwent artificial disc surgery to replace his L5S1 disc, and felt immediate relief afterward. He refers to the procedure as his fortieth birthday present and says it completely changed his life.

“Before the surgery, I was almost wheelchair ridden,” explained Mike. “On a pain scale from one to ten I was hitting ten and above.”

Mike had injured his back while he was still in college and his pain grew progressively worse over time. He had tried the normal course of treatment options including physical therapy, steroid injections and pain medication.

Over the years I had seen orthopedists who told me I needed spinal fusion, but when I was in my 20s and 30s I was considered too young for a procedure that would limit my motion so much.” said Mike. “I was also told that even with fusion surgery, I only had a 50% chance that it would relieve my pain.”

By 2005, Mike was having trouble walking. On the verge of turning 40, and feeling very intense pain, he thought it was time to consider fusion surgery. He was about to schedule the procedure when his primary care physician, Temple Day, M.D., suggested he get a second opinion from Dom Coric M.D., at Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates.

Dr. Coric told Mike that he was a candidate for artificial disc surgery and discussed a new clinical trial comparing the Kineflex™ lumbar artificial disc to the Charité™ artificial disc, which is already approved by the FDA. (See related article this issue.) Mike was excited about having an alternative to fusion surgery. In the randomized study, Mike received the Kineflex disc in a procedure on November 8th.

“My back pain has been 100% gone since the surgery,” said Mike. “I never imagined this level of success.”

Mike experienced no adverse side effects. He did have one unexpected result from the surgery; he was taller. After years of degeneration, his disc had compressed. Once the artificial disc was implanted, Mike found himself about 1 1/2 inches taller. “This procedure has been truly life-changing for me,” said Mike. “Since my operation, I’ve talked to people who had fusion surgery and realize how fortunate I am to have had access to this cutting edge technology.”

For more information about the Kineflex artificial disc clinical trials, go to www.spinalmotion.com or call Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates at 800-344-6716

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