3 Reasons You May Need Spinal Revision Surgery

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: September 26, 2016

Spinal revision surgery

Everyone expects surgery to address their injury or condition, but unfortunately not everyone experiences total relief after a spinal operation. Sometimes it’s because the stability of the hardware fails, while other times a condition simply returns after a period of time. Today, we look at three reasons while you may need revision surgery after an initial spinal operation.


Recurrent Disc Herniation

One of the more common revision operations is to address a subsequent disc herniation after a discectomy. During a discectomy, your surgeon will remove fragments of the disc material that have become partially or fully disengaged from the main disc. In the case of a partial discectomy, you still have some of the original disc material in your spine after the surgery, so it’s possible to re-herniate that portion of your spine.

Spinal Pseudoarthritis

Pseduoarthritis of the spine is a term that describe the lack of bone fusion within a year of a spinal fusion operation. It’s actually more common than you might think, as the medical community suggests that pseudoarthritis occurs in upwards of 68 percent of lumbar fusion operations. Although it can occur in two-thirds of lumbar fusions, not everyone will need to undergo a revision for the condition. Estimates suggest that anywhere between 6 and 36 percent of people will require a revision operation due to pseudoarthritis.

There are a number of factors that play a role in the development of pseudoarthritis after your initial surgery, including:

  • The extent of your spinal damage prior to your operation.
  • The type of hardware used during your operation.
  • The type of bone graft used, if any.
  • The health habits of the patient (smoking, diet, exercise, etc.)

When hardware is used during a spinal fusion operation, the risk of pseduoarthritis is much less. If your doctor feels confident installing hardware for your fusion, you’ll be less likely to need a revision operation due to pseudoarthritis.

Total Disc Replacement Failure

Total disc replacement is a relatively new operation that is still being totally perfected, and even if the ideal procedure is performed, your installed device may still fail. The prosthetic disc in your spine could malfunction or shift out of position, leading to the need for a revision operation, or because an ideal operation preserves the normal movement of the spine, other discs may eventually wear down due to degenerative changes, leading to a second operation on another spinal level.

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