Back Surgery – What it Can and Cannot Fix

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: October 12, 2017

Back Surgery Fix

We’ve made huge advancements in the field of spinal surgery, but it shouldn’t be viewed as a perfect option to cure all types of back pain. Some types of back pain can’t be addressed surgically, and others only partially help to reduce pain. That’s why it’s so important to have healthy expectations prior to your operation to ensure you aren’t disappointed if an operation doesn’t produce the results you expect.

That being said, there are a number of spinal conditions that have great surgical outcomes. So today, we’re going to look at a few different spinal issues and explain what problems back surgery can and cannot fix.

What Spine Surgery Can Fix

Spine surgery can fix a number of problems, so long as your doctor knows exactly what’s going on in your spine. For example, spine surgery can help address conditions like:

  • Herniated Disc – Discs that have shifted and are compressing other structures can be surgically addressed to decompress the area and provide pain relief.
  • Nerve Impingement – Along a similar vein, if a disc or a bone spur is compressing a nerve, a minimally invasive procedure can free the impingement.
  • Spinal Cysts or Tumors – Spine surgery will not only help to remove the growth, but doctors can also insert hardware to ensure the stability of the spine is not compromised.
  • Scoliosis – Spine surgery for scoliosis can help to prevent the problem from getting worse, but it’s not likely to completely fix your curved spine.
  • Previous Failed Surgeries – If your first spine surgeon didn’t address the problem as it should have, Dr. Sinicropi can work to correct the problem with a second spinal operation

What Back Surgery Can’t Fix

As we noted above, spine surgery can’t completely take care of every back issue. Some problems that can’t be fixed by spine surgery include:

  • Misdiagnosed/Nonspecific Back Pain – If you’ve been diagnosed with nonspecific low back pain, not only should you consider visiting a specialist who can take a closer look at what might be causing your pain, but you shouldn’t undergo surgery, because they can’t fix the problem if they don’t know what it is in the first place.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease – While a lumbar fusion can help stabilize the spine if natural spinal degeneration has taken place, there is no procedure to reverse the degenerative process.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries – In severe instances where the spinal cord has been damaged, surgeons can work to limit the damage and protect the spinal cord from further trauma, but they won’t be able to reverse the effects of a spinal cord injury.
  • Damage From Smoking – Smoking can affect the way blood reaches structures in the back, and if blood vessel damage is contributing to your spine pain, surgery won’t be able to fix the damage that has been done over the years.

For more information about which spinal conditions can and cannot be surgically addressed, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.

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