All surgeries carry risks, and degenerative spine surgery is no exception. This is why surgery on your back or neck should always be considered as a last resort, only after an assortment of conservative treatments has been tried first. It’s also important to remember that not all surgical procedures aimed at eliminating nerve compression due to a degenerative spine condition are performed the same way – each involves its own set of risks and benefits that you must consider before making a decision regarding surgery.
Looking to the Future – Avoiding FBSS
Talking to different spine specialists about what you can expect after different types of surgeries is important. Ask about the projected recovery time for each surgery and the complications that could arise during rehabilitation. Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is a not uncommon condition that sometimes follows highly invasive back or neck operations such as spinal fusion. In fact, it is estimated that about 40 percent of patients who undergo highly invasive open spine operations experience FBSS. FBSS may occur if:
- The bone, disc, or other material compressing a spinal nerve was not properly removed during surgery
- The body rejects a bone graft or hardware that was implanted
- Nerve damage is sustained during the procedure
- The surgery was performed on the wrong level of the spine
- The surgery was performed based on an incorrect diagnosis
Symptoms of FBSS following degenerative spine surgery can take a variety of forms, and may not be immediately identifiable as such because patients will naturally experience different types of discomfort during the recovery process. However, be on the lookout for numbness or tingling in the extremities, a return of your original symptoms, presentation of symptoms in another region of the back or neck, depression, anxiety, or insomnia.
Reducing Your Chances of FBSS
Often, the best way to reduce your chances of developing FBSS after degenerative spine surgery is to opt for a minimally invasive procedure that does not involve spinal fusion. To learn more about outpatient, endoscopic nerve decompression procedures for degenerative spine conditions, contact Laser Spine Institute for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan.