Risk of nerve damage related to traditional open back surgery

Any type of spine surgery comes with some risks that work against the obvious goal of relieving pain and symptoms related to a spine condition. One of these is when a nerve near the surgical site is damaged, resulting in chronic pain that a patient did not experience prior to surgery.

Nerve damage caused by spine surgery can result in pain, lack of sensation, limited mobility or flexibility, and, in rare instances, damage to major bodily organs. The term failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is a generalized term that includes a number of conditions that can arise after spine surgery, including nerve damage.

If you are experiencing increased pain after your spine surgery, you should consult your physician or surgeon to determine if you have suffered nerve damage during the procedure. While this does not often happen, it is more likely to occur with highly invasive procedures, such as traditional open neck or open back surgery.

Nerve damage as a risk of traditional spine surgery

Traditional open spine surgery poses an increased risk for failed back surgery syndrome compared to minimally invasive spine surgery options that have become possible due to advances in surgical technique. With traditional procedures, the techniques used to approach the spine involve a large incision and the detachment of the muscles surrounding the spine. As this procedure is happening, the surgeons are cutting and tearing into the muscles and ligaments near the spine, risking damage to one of the many nerves that are tightly packed into the spinal column.

If one of these nerve roots is compressed during surgery, the following symptoms could occur and last far beyond the postoperative recovery period:

  • Pain, tingling, numbness, spasms and weakness in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, lower back, hips, legs and feet
  • In rare and extreme cases in which autonomic nerves are involved, major organs — such as the heart and lungs — can fail to receive nerve signals resulting in serious health problems

Lowering the risk of failed back surgery syndrome

At Laser Spine Institute we provide minimally invasive spine surgery to treat a range of degenerative spinal conditions. Our outpatient procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery^ and offer a lower risk of complications due to our minimally invasive approach to the spine.

Whether we are performing a decompression surgery or a stabilization surgery, our minimally invasive procedures require only a small incision in the neck or back. Our highly skilled surgeons take a muscle-sparing approach to the spine, allowing our patients to experience a lower risk and shorter recovery time^ than patients who choose traditional spine surgery.

To learn more about our minimally invasive outpatient procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We will gladly provide you with a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.