Learning about all the potential back surgery risks is of paramount importance before undergoing any variety of operative intervention for back or neck pain. Facing these risks is a difficult task for many frightened patients who want to find a cure, but do not want to get worse due to failed surgery.
While risk is an inherent part of any surgical procedure, there are definite factors which can be manipulated to improve the potential for excellent surgical results. Understanding and acknowledging these risks is an important part of preparation for any back surgery event.
This essay details the risk factors associated with operative back pain treatment interventions. We will discuss how these risk factors should be handled when planning for a spinal operation of any scope.
While no surgical procedure can be completely risk-free, it is possible to minimize the risk factors by being a proactive patient with a deep understanding of your condition and proposed treatment. The following factors can be controlled by the patient to ensure the best surgical results possible:
Choose your back surgeon carefully. Do not accept that just any doctor can perform your procedure. Doctors come in all skill levels, same as any other profession. When it comes to a serious operation, it is wise to find the very best doctor available. Selecting a surgeon who specializes in your chosen procedure will help greatly.
Make sure your diagnosis is correct. Misdiagnosis of the actual cause of pain is the main reason for poor surgical results. If the mistakenly diagnosed target of the surgery is not the correct source of pain, then of course, the operation will fail.
Try all non-invasive treatments first to make sure surgery is truly warranted. Surgery should be a last and final resort when it comes to back pain treatment.
Get your body and mind in good health before the procedure. Healthy patients recover faster and demonstrate better postoperative results. Making sure your mind is prepared to deal with the operation is equally important, since a positive mind set will speed healing and counteract any nocebo effect experienced during the medical process.
Plan for and prepare post-surgical care well in advance. Make sure you have all the resources and assistance you will need to achieve a great recovery. This is often an overlooked facet of spine surgery for many patients. Plan for the worst to occur and hope for the best. Make sure you can afford extended time away from your normal life to recuperate.
There are many potential problems associated with back surgery. For detailed information on the full range of possible obstacles involved during spinal operations, please read my back surgery complications page.
Here are some of the most common general risks of virtually all spinal procedures:
Failed back surgery syndrome is an epidemic occurrence leading to chronic pain for many postoperative patients.
Infection can occur during or after any invasive procedure.
Nerve damage is usually a serious and permanent disabling condition.
Scar tissue can cause ongoing pain long after the surgical damage has healed.
Deterioration of general health is
common for the elderly, and patients with compromised immune response,
following major surgery.
Decreased physical functionality requires rehabilitative therapy and may leave lasting physical deficits.
Post-operative complications come in a frightening diversity of profiles.
Any patient who has been pushed to the point of enduring surgery is often at the end of their proverbial rope. They have put all their eggs in a single basket, hoping the operation will finally cure their back pain symptoms.
The most common reason for surgery to fail is the identical reason why all the previous conservative treatments have failed. This point is rarely considered by patients before surgery, but seems super obvious to those with poor postoperative results. The main factor in determining which pain conditions will heal and which will not is a correct diagnosis. This often overlooked facet of a pain problem is commonly taken for granted. A patient can never be sure of their diagnosis, but they can learn the common signs of a misdiagnosed condition.
Remember that most physical pain conditions respond well to physical medical treatments. Conditions which continue relentlessly and remain unresolved after numerous treatment attempts may be good indicators of a psychoemotional causation.
Psychosomatic back pain is rarely correctly identified and is the most dangerous of all back surgery risks, since a psychogenic condition will never truly heal from any physical treatment. Consider this carefully before making your choice to undergo spinal surgery.