Possible risks of degenerative spine surgery

All surgeries carry risks, and degenerative spine surgery is no exception. This is why surgery on your neck or back 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 condition that is not uncommon and sometimes follows highly invasive neck or back operations. 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 neck or back, 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. To learn more about outpatient nerve decompression procedures for degenerative spine conditions, contact Laser Spine Institute for a review of your MRI or CT scan.