Well the first time I had surgery I was in the military in Alaska, I was the Branch Chief of the A-10 Flight Simulator, I knew absolutely nothing about herniated disk or back surgery or any of that! All I knew was that I was in pain, and it was a type of pain I had never ever had before and nothing they did or any thing they gave me, helped make the pain go away! We did not have a hospital on base, just a clinic, and the Army Hospital was 30 or 40 miles away at Ft. Wainwright in Fairbanks, and their Orthopedic specialist said I was malingering! When I finally had the surgery several months later, down in Anchorage, at the Civilian Hospital, ( it was considered an emergency as my spinal cord was in the shape of a sideways "U" in my neck ) Anyway I had a rough time of it after my surgery as I completely lost my voice for over 3 months after the surgery! Remember this was is in Mardh of 1985 and I had the Anterior approach done C6/7 ACDF ( they went through the front of my neck) that was literally a brand new way of doing that surgery back then! and they took the bone out of my pelvis for the fusion, and they did not use any hardware to keep it all in place! I just wore a Cervical collar for 5 or 6 months! Anyway I had many many problems for along time after I had the surgery, and I did not know why, nor did any one else! ( remember these are Military Doctors!) After quite a few years things seem to have settled down and I thought I was OK! No one ever told me that when you have a Disk fusion that the disks above or below the fusion would probably go bad sometime in the future!. With that said I had no choice at the time that I had my surgery, and it was more or less a life threatening situation. It did relieve the pain in my arms, which, at that time I would have done anything to have that taken away!
Now fast forward to last fall, and again I was having severe pain in my left arm, and I was told I needed a C5-6 ACDF, I knew my neck was a mess! as is my entire spine, with Thorasic Disks bad that no one will touch, and the Thorasic disks put me on disability and on constant pain meds! But back to C5-6, I again had the fusion done, and although I have still have allot of problems with pain in my neck and back of head,( caused by C2/3) the pain in my arm was gone right after the surgery and again I am Glad that I had it done!
Now with all that said I do realize that the article was mainly talking about lower disk problems, which I also have L4/5 disk is herniated and I have stenosis at L1 though L5. I am hesitant to have any type of surgery done down low, and so far I have been able to avoid it! Anyway if you need to have disk fusions done, the Anterior approach makes the most sense! The main part of the vertebra and the disks are in front of the spine, and the easiest way to get at them and do a fusion with the least complications is the anterior approach! ( going through the front)Unfortunately the Cervical Disk are the only ones that are available to easily do this to! Even my surgeon said that the cervical disk fusion is the easiest surgery to perform of any of the back surgeries! It is to dangerous to do this with Thorasic disks! ( Good thing that it is rare that they go bad anyway!) and Lumbar disk are really not accessible for this type of surgery! But yet Lumbar Disk are the ones that most people have the most problems with and are the ones that require the most surgery! I believe that is why so many people have dificulity after having disk surgery on their Lumbar Disk! The way the surgery has to be performed, and the healing time is longer too! I would have to agree with the article that just removing the bone and decompressing the nerve roots, makes allot more sense, if that is all that is needed, and as the article also points out, this type of surgery has the least amount of problems associated with it!
Anyway these are just my thoughts and rambling about it!