Scar tissue

Scar tissue is part of the healing process after a neck or back surgery. While some procedures leave more scar tissue than others, it will always be present when the incision for an operation heals.

The importance of scar tissue is not whether or not it will develop after surgery, because it always will. The importance, however, is whether or not it will become detrimental to a patient’s recovery after surgery.

The amount of scar tissue that develops after a neck or back surgery is entirely dependent on the type of procedure performed. For example, a highly invasive traditional open back surgery will result in much more scar tissue around the incision than what will result after a minimally invasive surgery. In some cases, the excessive scar tissue that forms from traditional neck or back surgery can actually prevent the spine from healing properly, and can result in failed back surgery syndrome.

Complications of excessive scar tissue

Traditional open neck or open back surgery requires a very large, very invasive incision to reach the spine. Because this incision cuts through a large portion of the surrounding muscles and soft tissue, excessive scar tissue can form after the procedure when the incision heals.

Sometimes, this scar tissue compresses spinal nerves, a condition called epidural fibrosis, a large nerve root that is located immediately next to the spine. When this happens, chronic and unexpected pain may develop, sometimes resulting in more pain and discomfort than experienced before the surgery.

Typically, patients should start feeling relief after about three months following spine surgery. If you have undergone traditional open neck or open back surgery and you are experiencing similar or more severe pain and symptoms than you experienced before your procedure, you should contact your physician, surgeon or spine care specialist to find a treatment for your pain. You doctor may recommend that you have an MRI or CT scan to determine if scar tissue is the cause of your sudden pain.

If your doctor determines that excessive scar tissue is causing you to experience failed back surgery syndrome, there are several treatment options available to help you find relief. At Laser Spine Institute, our skilled surgeons regularly perform a procedure known as a minimally invasive laminotomy to treat epidural fibrosis and failed back surgery syndrome. This is an extremely appealing option for many patients because:

  • 97 percent patient satisfaction score^ after our minimally invasive procedures
  • Shorter recovery time^ than the recovery after traditional surgery
  • Lower risk and complications than traditional surgery

Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about how a laminotomy can be a safer and more effective way to treat neck and back pain than traditional open spine surgery. Laser Spine Institute offers a number of minimally invasive procedures that are designed to help patients find pain relief without the long recovery time and risks of traditional open back surgery.