Nearly 60 million Americans have back pain and roughly 80 percent of the population will experience it at some point. Yet only about five percent of those with back pain will actually need surgery. If you’re at a point where surgery is part of the discussion, consider some of the other things you may not know about spine surgery.
1. There Must Be an Identifiable Source of Pain
Spine surgery is never random. Before it becomes an option, there must be a likely source of back pain identified through image testing. Disc herniation, nerve compression, and damage to joints or bones of the spine are the most common reasons to recommend surgery.
2. Many Spine Surgeries Are Minimally Invasive
The growing trend in spine surgery is to use smaller incisions and perform minimally invasive spine surgery whenever possible. Patients who are candidates for minimally invasive procedures tend to benefit from:
- Fewer complications
- Faster recovery times
- Better healing
3. Fusion Surgery Has Become More Reliable
While many factors will determine whether or not fusion spine surgery is successful, the procedure itself has become more reliable over the years. Advances in technology have led to more bone graft options and the accessories needed to keep the spine stable until the fusion forms are more durable.
4. Fusion Isn’t Always Necessary
Performed to increase stability of the backbone, a fusion may also limit range of motion and increase vulnerability along other points of the spine. Instead of a fusion, a microdiscectomy may be recommended to remove only the offending part of the disc and leave the rest intact to maintain spinal stability.
5. Bed Rest Should Be Limited
Movement is essential to promoting healing and restoration of flexibility after spine surgery. Most doctors won’t discharge a patient until they can at least walk around within the room with little or no assistance.
Unless there’s a pressing medical emergency, there’s rarely an urgent need to proceed with spine surgery. For this reason, it’s often recommended that patients weigh all available options, including non-surgical methods not previously tried, seek multiple opinions, and determine how surgery may impact quality of life.
Find out if spine surgery is the right choice for you by reaching out to The Spine Institute in Los Angeles. Our experienced team of diagnosticians and surgeons can review your individual case and make treatment recommendations based on the cause of your pain and your lifestyle. Call (310) 828-7757 today and schedule an in-person consultation.