Category: Minimally Invasive Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: February 23, 2015
As we have discussed previously, any spine surgery requires precision to avoid damage to the spinal nerves. Even after the most successful procedures, it is normal for the patient to experience some nerve related numbness in the back during the post-op recovery process. But can spine surgery lead to nerve damage in other areas of the body such as the arms? In response to a reader question, this post will talk about the potential for bicep nerve damage in the arm after an ACDF (Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion) surgery.
Post-op Bicep Nerve Damage
The spinal column is essentially the avenue through which our brain sends and receives signals to other parts of the body (more on how the central nervous system operates here). When the spinal nerves are disrupted, it is quite possible that another body part will be affected. This is why spinal cord injuries are so series and often result in below the waist paralysis.
If any of the nerves are damaged during the course of surgery, you may experience pain, numbness, or loss of feeling. Over time, sensation may or may not return. It’s highly dependent on the patient’s specific circumstances. When a patient experiences nerve-related loss of motor function after surgery, generally it’s best to see if function returns gradually over time. If that does not work, there may be impacted nerves causing the loss of sensation. Unfortunately, if the nerves are permanently damaged, there is nothing that can be done to return function to the affected body part.
Contact your surgeon right away if you are experiencing significant pain or loss of feeling in any part of your body after your spine surgery. There is probably nothing to worry about, but it’s always best to get it checked to cancel out any other potentially serious underlying issues.