What are my risks for spinal surgery?

Prior to surgery, your doctor will tell you about the possible risks associated with the procedure he will be performing. Potential risks and complications include excessive bleeding, blood clots, infections, lung problems, dual tears, hardware failure, reaction to anesthesia and persistent pain even after corrective surgery.

Will I have pain after surgery?

While some level of pain after surgery is normal as skin incisions stimulate nerve endings to signal pain. However, this pain should subside and eventually disappear. If that doesn’t happen, there has been a complication in the surgery and you must inform your doctor.

When do I need a spinal fusion?

Doctors usually recommend spinal fusion surgeries to treat spine conditions including fractures of the spine, spondylolisthesis (instability of the spine), degenerative disc disease, recurrent disc herniations, severe infections of the spine (tuberculosis), tumors of the spine, scoliosis and chronic back or neck pain.

When do I need a spine surgery?

The spine is connected to large groups of muscles of the body and even a small problem in the spine can impact life significantly. Spine surgery is needed when conservative treatment has failed and your condition is deteriorating and you are unable to function normally.

What can I do to avoid surgery?

Anyone in their right mind would want to avoid surgery. The best way out is to control your weight, increase blood circulation by careful exercising, going for physical therapy, taking injections direct to the inflamed site and spinal manipulation by a licensed chiropractor.

Will I have irreversible damage if I delay surgery?

In cases like acute trauma or severe spinal cord compression, delaying surgery could cost you heavily and possibly result in paralysis or irreversible nerve damage. Timely spine surgery can remove compression of impinged nerves and prevent debilitating damage.

What effect does a fusion have on the rest of the cervical spine?

The discs between each vertebrae help in absorbing shock, but when there is bone fusion, the adjacent bones have to bear more force from movements and lead to possible disc degeneration. Cervical fusion surgery, when done properly, maintains balance and the adjacent bones aren’t affected.

Will the surgery lessen my mobility?

A successful surgery will only result in enhancing movement. After the initial inflammation and stiffness subsides after surgery, there will be greater range of movement. But after multi-level spinal fusion, there may be some level of reduced mobility.

Why would my doctor need an MRI and an x-ray of my spine?

While X-rays are great for studying bone structural changes and abnormalities like fractures, arthritis, scoliosis, kyphosis, spondylolisthesis or tumors, an MRI gives better imaging of the soft tissues surrounding the skeleton, including the nerves and muscles.

What are my chances for success?

A surgery is deemed successful when the reconstruction of the spine reduces or eliminates the patient’s symptoms. Success of surgery depends on the level of deterioration of the spine, the patient’s age and health issues and of course, the expertise of the surgeon performing the surgery.

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