Making the decision to undergo back surgery is often the best route to achieving a better quality of life with improved mobility and less pain. A procedure is not without its risks though, and patients who are contemplating surgery should consider all of the choices that are available. Individuals who research all of their options before a procedure are more likely to achieve a successful outcome, and asking the surgeon important questions before surgery is the first step in taking charge of one’s own health care decisions.
What are the Alternatives to Surgery?
Many conditions can be managed with medications and/or therapies, and weighing the long-term effects of medication versus a surgical repair is frequently a significant consideration. Oftentimes medical management is attempted for a trial period, and surgery is chosen when the results are ineffective.
What are the Benefits of Surgery?
Patients should know how long they can expect the results of a procedure to last. Discovering whether repeat procedures will be necessary or if results should last a lifetime are key considerations when contemplating surgery. For instance, traditional fusion surgeries are now being replaced by more advanced options such as lumbar artificial disc replacement which result in less operative time, scarring, recovery and more.
What are the Risks?
Individuals need to be fully aware of the risks and possible complications of undergoing a procedure and the rate at which adverse effects occur. When considering surgery, the benefits need to outweigh the risks.
What Will Happen if I Don’t Have Surgery?
Patients should ask the surgeon if a possibility exists that the condition will resolve on its own, and the consequences of declining to have surgery also need to be addressed.
How Long is the Recovery?
Recovery after back surgery may be relatively quick, or it may involve several weeks with trips to physical therapy. It is imperative to fully understand the recovery time in order to appropriately plan for care at home and time lost at work.
If you are thinking about undergoing back surgery or are interested in a second opinion about your case, please reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Medical director Dr. Hyun Bae specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery and has been involved in some of the latest advancements in spinal health including clinical trials for the Mobi-C artificial disc and the Coflex interlaminar stabilization implant. Find out all your options for spine surgery by calling (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation.