The success rates of neck and back surgery depend on several factors, such as the condition being treated, the severity of the condition and the type of surgery performed. Just as there are several potential sources of neck and back discomfort, there are also many types of spine surgery. And, these procedures can range from a massively intrusive traditional open back surgery to a minimally invasive procedure. Likewise, the source of back pain can range from a relatively minor swollen disc to a serious disorder requiring emergency surgery. With so many variables to be considered, physicians are often hesitant to estimate success rates with spine surgery.
Traditional spinal fusion, for example, is an invasive open back procedure that is often recommended to an individual who has degenerative disc disease. In order to alleviate back pain stemming from the motion between two vertebrae, a surgeon enters the back through a large incision, dissects the tissue and grafts (or “fuses”) the two bones together. When a fusion is performed as an open spine procedure, postoperative problems can arise (namely infection and scar tissue buildup).
Meanwhile, an alternative to open back spinal fusion, known as an discectomy, is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure in which the surgeon removes a portion of a herniated or bulging disc through a small incision. Unlike traditional open back surgery, discectomy is quicker, less painful and has a much higher success rate.
There is no magic formula for relief of neck pain, and back pain, and surgical treatments show varied success rates. In fact, some estimate that as many as 50 percent of open back procedures do not entirely alleviate the pain and other symptoms associated with spine disorders. In contrast, more than 90 percent of patients who receive outpatient treatment at Laser Spine Institute report improvement within three months of the procedure.
To increase the likelihood of a successful surgery:
- Consider a minimally invasive operation as an alternative to open back surgery
- Ensure the true origin of the back pain has been identified
- Complete postoperative physical therapy and adhere to medical instructions
- Have realistic expectations for pain relief
To learn more about the success rates of traditional open back surgery, as opposed to the success rates at Laser Spine Institute, or for more information about the minimally invasive spine procedures we offer, contact us to determine if you are a candidate for one of our procedures.