Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: March 1, 2018
Unless the spine condition is life threatening, many people wonder if undergoing spine surgery for mild to moderate discomfort is worth the risk. Even the most minimally invasive operations carry potential risks, but they also have plenty of upside. Today, we take a look at the risks and rewards associated with spine surgery for non-life threatening pain or discomfort.
Spine Surgery – Is It Worth It?
In most cases, a spine specialist will recommend that a person attempts at least six weeks of conservative care before opting for surgery. The following benefits and drawbacks are under the assumption that conservative care has failed and surgery is on the table. Let’s start with the rewards of spine surgery:
- Pain Relief – If all goes as planned, your pain will be greatly reduced or eliminated.
- Return To Activities – Back discomfort has probably hindered your ability to partake in some activities, or at least do them without pain. Surgery should be able to help you get back on the golf course or on the playground with your grandchildren.
- Medical Expertise – In today’s day and age, spine surgery is much safer than it was in year’s past, greatly reducing your likelihood of complications.
- Stronger Stabilization – Today’s hardware and stabilization techniques are lasting much longer than decades ago, which means you’re less likely to need a follow up operation in the future.
- Smaller Procedures – Many standard operations are now available in minimally invasive forms, which is less taxing on patients, reduces complication risks, and leads to quicker recovery times.
- Independence – Similar to the point about returning to activities, spine surgery can help a person regain their independence, which is something everybody strives for as we get older.
Potential Spine Surgery Risks
Every operation carries some risks, but after reading this list, we believe you’ll see the rewards far outweigh the risks when it comes to spine surgery.
- Complications – Complications are rare during surgery, but some complications surgeons will protect against include infections, bleeding, and nerve damage.
- Failed Spine Surgery – There is a small chance that the operation will not achieve the intended results, meaning pain is not reduced. However, instead of focusing on the fact that surgery may not go as planned, focus on all the positives that will occur if it does indeed go as the surgeon expects.
- Anesthesia Issues – Some patients have a bad reaction to the type of anesthesia that is used. Your surgeon will ask about any allergies before surgery, and they will be prepared in the event you have a different reaction to the anesthesia than expected.
- Implant Migration – If the implant or hardware shifts during or shortly after the procedure, it may not achieve the intended results, and a corrective procedure may be necessary.
The good thing about spine surgery is that the benefits occur far more often than the risks, and the potential drawbacks are heavily controlled for and managed. The vast majority of Dr. Sinicropi’s patients have seen that the rewards have been well worth the decision to have spine surgery, and he’d be happy to talk with you about your pain relief options. For more information, reach out to his clinic today.