Nerve damage caused by back surgery

All surgery comes with some risks, although the obvious goal of any spine surgery is to treat the spine condition and reduce or eliminate the pain and symptoms. However, there are some instances during surgery when a nerve near the surgical site is damaged, resulting in chronic pain that the 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 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 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.

Risks of traditional spine surgery

Traditional spine surgery poses an increased risk for failed back surgery syndrome than other minimally invasive spine surgery options. The techniques used to approach the spine begin with a large incision and end with 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 damaging one of the several nerve roots that are next to the spine in the spinal canal.

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/or feet
  • Lack of ability to feel pain
  • 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; this can result in serious health problems

Reduce your risks for spine surgery

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a number of state-of-the-art minimally invasive procedures to treat a variety of degenerative spinal conditions. Our procedures are effective alternatives to traditional open back surgery and have much 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. We do not alter the nearby muscles or ligaments, 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 your MRI or CT scan review.