Dangers of Spinal Surgery

Do you have back pain? Have you had back pain for an extended period of time? In this time have you been recommended, or have you thought about spinal surgery as your relief option?

Back pain and problems with the spinal column can take a serious toll on your life. These issues make everyday activities more challenging, and they deprive you of using your mobility and flexibility to do to the things you once loved. But diagnosing the root of the issue can be tricky, therefore multiple treatment options thrown your way.

Most people in America will experience back pain at one point or another in their lives. But for those who live with chronic back pain day in and day out, finding a permanent fix is always the goal.  According to The Good Body, approximately 8 out of every 10 Americans will have back pain; 30.2% of women suffer from low back pain; 26.4% of men suffer from low back pain; and 54% of these cases work seated at a desk all day.  40% seek care from their primary care physician, 40% from a chiropractor, and the remaining 20% go to a subspecialist. Each year in the US, more than $50 billion is spent trying to treat low back pain. The Good Body provides statistics on back surgery that are shocking. Surgery is the most serious, and expensive treatment option – and only 5% of the 56 million American’s with back pain actually need it. The average cost of spinal fusion surgery is $75,000. They stated that “even though the number of spinal fusions has been on the rise, experts estimate that fewer than half of them are appropriate and research confirms that the same proportion are successful.”

So now that we’ve just thrown a ton of statistics at you, let’s look at the actual risks associated with specific surgical procedures:

Spinal Fusion – This is the most common type of back surgery in which the surgeon joins the vertebrae together to restrict movement between spinal bones, the goal being to limit the stretching of spinal nerves. If the surgery is not performed 100% correctly, the fusion will be incomplete, resulting in a second surgery.

Laminectomy – To relieve pressure on spinal nerves, doctors perform a laminectomy by removing parts of the bone, bone spurs, or ligaments. However, this can often lead to a less stable spine, and a second surgery.

Disc Replacement Surgery – This surgery is performed when a patient has a damaged spinal disk. Doctors remove the damaged disc and replace it with an artificial disk. The biggest complication here is correlated with the fact that whenever you are introducing a foreign object into your body, you run the risk of dislocation. This can potentially lead to a hardware fracture.

Foraminotomy – In a foraminotomy, the doctor removes bone from the sides of the vertebrae. This surgery commonly results in a second surgery when the spine loses its stability.

Spinal surgery itself runs about a 20% risk of failure. We have had many patients come through our doors seeking help after a spinal surgery with no improvements and even worsened pain.

Our approach to relieving back pain is conservative, safe, and non-invasive. We focus on correction for the long-term, and would love to help get you back on the road to recovery without, or before you consider, spinal surgery. We do, however, have strong working relationships with local physicians of various specializations in order to provide the appropriate referral when indicated. If you have been experiencing back pain, please call us at 410-381-7246 to schedule your consultation!

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