You might have been told that after you undergo back surgery for a degenerative spine condition like a herniated disc or spinal osteoarthritis, nothing about your life will ever be the same. There are two ways to interpret that statement. The best-case interpretation, of course, is that the operation will alleviate the pain, tingling, numbness, muscle weakness and other symptoms that caused such devastating disruption in your life. There could be a flip side to that interpretation: Not everyone who undergoes back surgery, particularly highly invasive traditional open spine surgery, ends up happy with the result. Sometimes, a postoperative condition known as failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) develops, and the aftermath of the operation can be even worse than the previous discomfort.
Expect the benefits, prepare for the side effects
The benefits of back surgery are obvious. No one would ever undergo an operation of any kind unless there was something to be gained from it. In this case, the goal is to alleviate pain and other debilitating symptoms associated with nerve or spinal cord impingement caused by a degenerative spine condition. In other words, you undergo back surgery to get your life back. The side effects of surgical procedures are not so obvious, primarily because there are many different approaches to spine surgery. Potential side effects, such as infection and others, occur far less frequently during and after minimally invasive spine procedures than highly invasive, traditional open spine surgery. Regardless of what type of surgery you agree to undergo, you should talk extensively with your physician and surgeon about what to expect if things do not go exactly as planned.
After the operation
After you have undergone back surgery to address common degenerative conditions, the time required for recuperation will depend on a number of factors, including the type of surgery that was performed and your overall health prior to the operation. Chances are, you will need to remain more aware of your spine health after surgery than you were before, but if the operation goes as well as hoped, there should be only limited restrictions – if any – as you move through post-surgery life.
To learn more about life after back surgery, or to determine whether you might be a candidate for one of the minimally invasive, outpatient spine procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute, contact us today.