Spine surgery is a major procedure that can be a lifesaver for those who need it but an unnecessary treatment with a long and difficult recovery for those who don’t. If you are considering spine surgery for your neck or back issue, it’s important to learn about the procedure before getting it done.
When Do You Need Spine Surgery
The best time to consider surgery in the spine is when you have tried all nonsurgical methods and failed to experience relief. Most physicians will require a minimum of three months of conservative treatments before performing surgery. Most causes of back pain resolve within this period of time. Check-in with your doctor if you still struggle with back pain after three months.
Spine surgery may be able to alleviate pain and other symptoms in your back and affected limbs. These symptoms are caused by nerve compression in the spine. Certain conditions that cause compressing of nerves may need surgical treatment. These include:
- Having disc problems, often referred to as herniated or ruptured discs
- Experiencing spinal stenosis, where the spinal column has narrowed, putting pressure on nerves
- Experiencing degenerative disc disease caused by aging
- Suffering from vertebral fractures or osteoporosis
- Being afflicted with spondylolisthesis, where spinal bones slip out of place
In rare cases, a spinal tumor may cause back pain by damaging nerve roots. Spine surgery can help remove the tumor to relieve the symptoms and prevent permanent damage as well as infection.
Risks Of Spine Surgery
Spine surgery can have some complications, depending on your condition and the specific procedure you need to get done. Moreover, risks may vary for each patient. Discuss the possible complications of your condition with your doctor before undergoing spine surgery. General risks of spine-related surgeries include:
Following spine surgery, blood clots often happen in the legs. These blood clots prevent the flow of blood from the legs back to the heart. If not dissolved, this may cause serious pain and swelling in the leg. At worst, it may result in abnormal blood flow throughout the body, causing lung complications. Your doctor may suggest that you exercise and take medications to slow blood clotting after surgery.
The surgery and medications may cause dysfunction of your lungs. Your wound would need oxygen to heal, so it is advisable to take care of your lungs after surgery. Your physician may talk to you about this, especially if you have breathing problems. Moving regularly and breathing exercises may help in maintaining normal lung function. A respiratory therapist can guide you on the activities to do and medications to take.
Infection and Pain
An error during surgery may cause spinal infection. However, spinal infections are not common. Skin incision or deep-level infections are more common. Your surgeon may give you antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection, especially from the medical tools used.
Pain is an expected consequence right after the procedure. If you are experiencing chronic pain, let your doctor know.
Failed Spinal Surgery
Surgery does not guarantee a 100% treatment on your spine-related issue. Sometimes, spine surgery fails to treat a patient’s back pain. A failed surgery does not necessarily mean that the procedure has been performed incorrectly. Your medical condition also has to be considered when assessing the surgical procedure’s success or failure.
There are two possible results a spine surgery can achieve. It either decompresses a nerve root or stabilizes a joint. The operation is a failure if a patient’s source of pain remains the same. If your concern is not related to nerve roots or painful joints, back surgery may not be the right option for you.
The best way to know if spine surgery is the most suitable treatment for your condition is to ask your doctor. Let them evaluate your back problem to recommend the best option for you.
Spine Surgery in Westlake and Avon, OH
With offices in Westlake and Avon, Orthopaedic Associates is here to help you with back pain and joint issues, including spine surgery. You may reach us at (440) 892-1440 for our Westlake office or (440) 934-8184 for our Avon office.
For your convenience, you may also use our online appointment form. If you want to know more information on how to reach us, visit our Contact Us page. Let us help you overcome your struggles and live the pain-free life you deserve.