Over the last 10 years, there has been an increase of 15 times more back surgery procedures being performed. Hundreds of thousands of back surgery procedures are performed every year in United States, and the population of the country did not increase 15 fold over the last 10 years!
What exactly makes for a successful back surgery result and what should the expectations be for someone considering undergoing the knife? In order to answer this question, it is essential to understand the different reasons that a person undergoes back surgery. The best outcomes achieved with back surgery is when it is performed for a pinched nerve.
1. Pinched Nerve Surgery
Pinched nerves occur in the low back due to a lumbar disc herniation, or an arthritis situation that pinches one or multiple nerves. This problem is called spinal stenosis. When a low back surgery is performed to free up pinched nerves, a successful result can typically be expected over 80 to 90% of the time. Complications can occur and may consist of an infection, bleeding, anesthesia complication or nerve injury in unusual circumstances.
2. Spinal Fusion Surgery
The second type of back surgery procedure is a spinal fusion. This may be done for a degenerative disc disease or for a degenerative scoliosis condition. Another reason would be for a degenerative spondylolisthesis which comes from arthritis and is often associated with spinal stenosis. This article does not apply to when a spinal fusion is done for trauma with fractures.
The outcomes for the various types of final fusion procedures are all over the board. Usually fusions done for degenerative disc procedures produce results that are approximately 50 to 70% satisfactory. The satisfactory results obtained from a spinal fusion performed for a degenerative spondylolisthesis condition are better than that and are probably overall are around 80%. For a degenerative scoliosis the results are between 60 to 80% effective.
An effective result from a spinal fusion does not mean the patient ends up in a pain-free situation. Most of the time, even a technically successful spine surgery performed with a proper indication will not get rid of all of a persons back or leg pain. Usually it is successful at getting rid of 50 to 80% of the persons pain. What this means is that a person with a successful result may get rid of half of their pain and still end up needing narcotic medication a year or more after the surgery.
This is unfortunate and the best that modern medicine has to offer. Patients need to understand and have appropriate expectations for their back surgery being undertaken. The goal of a spinal fusion is to alleviate pain from the movement by welding together the bones of the spine and hoping that takes care of the associated pain so that the patient can increase his or her activity and not be so disabled every day.
Unfortunately, modern spine surgery is simply not always able to provide those “home run” types of results. Hopefully in the future something better will come along for this, but even artificial disc replacement has not been shown to provide better surgical outcomes than a spinal fusion. For this reason it is best for those dealing with pain in Florida to exhaust conservative treatment options such as with pain management Tampa clinics, pain clinics in Orlando, Port St Lucie Pain Management clinics, or help wherever one lives.
If you have had a back surgery with residual pain in the right after the procedure or a few months to years afterwards, let the Florida Pain Network help you. The network connects those in pain with pain relievers including Florida Pain Clinics, Florida Chiropractors such as with a Fort Lauderdale chiropractor, and Florida Physical Therapy practices around the state. Simply go to THIS page and push whether you need a pain doctor, chiropractor or physical therapy provider and those closest to you will show up right away.
Or simply call 877-877-8556 for assistance.