A back surgery infection is the last thing a poor suffering dorsopathy patient needs after enduring the often agonizing ordeal of spinal surgery. While infection is not the most common complication of back surgery, it is certainly something to consider.
Remember that infection is possible from any invasive procedure and can lead to serious health consequences, or even death, in very extreme circumstances. However, with a bit of knowledge and effort, you can take steps to minimize your chances of suffering an infection and increase your chances at finding true and lasting back pain relief from your procedure.
Operations which feature any artificial part which is left inside the anatomy demonstrate drastically elevated risks for infection. These include any prosthesis or implant placed in the spine, an artificial disc, a disc spacer or hardware associated with spinal fusion.
What is a Back Surgery Infection?
Infection is always possible when the body is operated upon. Even the most minimally invasive back surgery techniques can cause severe bacterial or viral contamination.
Procedures as simple as an epidural injection can provide the entrance for bacteria into the body, and even with a minor invasive procedure, the patient is put at risk.
Infections occur due to contamination from a foreign substance or microscopic life form. Once the wound is infected, typically the patient will require follow-up care, usually involving oral or injected antibiotics.
Occasionally, follow-up surgery is needed to resolve the infection or undo the damage which may have been caused.
The signs of spinal infection may include fever, localized swelling or redness, red lines near the wound, nausea, abnormal soreness, pus discharge or a foul smell. Be sure to contact your doctor or local emergency room if you suspect that you are having any complication after back surgery.
Waiting for any complication to work itself out is a recipe for disaster. In some cases, patients actually die because they downplay the severity of postoperative concerns. Do not take any chances.
Preventing Back Surgery Infection
Prevention is usually easier and more effective than treatment for any health issue and infection is certainly no exception to this rule. Here are some steps you can take to do your best to prevent infection from ruining your surgical results:
Be sure to thoroughly research your surgeon and hospital facility to ensure they do not have a history of patient complaints, litigation or disciplinary actions.
Get yourself in the best shape possible prior to surgery. Strong and healthy patients recover from back surgery far faster and better than weak, obese or sick patients.
Follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions exactly and remember to take all medications and perform all care procedures as advised. Make sure to have enough help on the days immediately following the surgery.
Think long and hard before agreeing to medical tourism back surgery. Acclimating to a foreign environment increases the chance for postoperative infection considerably. Remember a new locale will have germs you may never have been exposed to before. Even a mild, but unfamiliar, type of bacteria can cause havoc in a post-surgical patient.
Infection Assistance After Back Surgery
Obviously, I recommend only thinking about back surgery if it is your final option and you are completely sure of your diagnosis. Always try to avoid back surgery whenever possible and for as long as possible to prevent becoming a victim of the various complications, including the epidemic incidence of failed spine surgery syndrome.
If you do require surgery, do your part to maximize the chances for a successful result by researching and learning all about your doctor, procedure and prognosis. Remember to take good care of yourself after the operation and actively participate in any rehabilitation you may need. Be absolutely sure to keep yourself and your wounds clean and out of harms way after your procedure.
Exposure to pets may be comforting, but is also a great way to get an infection. Small children are unpredictable in their behavior and may injure your fresh wounds or expose you to bacteria they caught in school. Be careful, particularly for the first few days or so until the skin heals over.
When it comes to spinal surgery, if you do have to do it, do it right. I wish you the best of luck.