Fusion procedures to relieve chronic back pain — risks and difficulties

If you have chronic back pain, you may have considered traditional open spine fusion surgery as a potential treatment option. Before you consent to invasive open spine surgery, however, it is important that you understand the risks and downsides associated with the procedure. The decision to undergo any operation isn’t easy. Ultimately, you have to weigh your back pain against the commitment required for a successful operation, including the postoperative recovery period. With a traditional open spinal fusion this decision is even more difficult when you consider the postoperative pain and chance for failure that comes with this type of operation.

Risks of a traditional open spine fusion

Traditional open spine fusion is a procedure involving the fusing of vertebrae together with bone grafts to stabilize that segment of the spine and decompress any nerves that may have become irritated by spine degeneration. As a traditional open spine procedure performed in a hospital, this operation has a number of downsides. Treating chronic back pain with open spine fusion can lead to:

  • Failed back surgery syndrome. Some patients experience an ineffective procedure based on incorrect diagnosis, insufficient decompression, scar tissue buildup or collateral nerve damage. This can lead to the return of symptoms the procedure was supposed to relieve.
  • Pain. Recovery from major surgery is a slow, painful process. Patients can be hospitalized for several days after the operation and may require physical therapy and rehabilitation.
  • Complications. After the surgery, there is still risk of infection, scarring, and more.

Minimally invasive spine surgery

As a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine procedures, including fusion, Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive spine surgery. Our surgeons perform minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures on an outpatient basis. Because we use muscle-sparing techniques, our procedures offer less risk of complication and a shorter recovery period compared to traditional procedures.^

Since 2005, our board-certified surgeons+ have helped more than 60,000 patients find relief from neck or back pain in our state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery centers.

Contact us today to learn more about our procedures and for a review of your MRI or CT scan to determine if you may be a candidate.

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