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Back Surgery (Spinal Surgery)

What is back surgery?

This is a procedure that aims to change patient anatomy, such as removing a herniated disc that is causing pain, to provide pain relief. There are back pains that are quick to recovery while others are more extensive and takes a long period to recover.

Most of the pain that occurs in the lower back can be treated without any surgery. However, surgery often does not relieve pain. At times when the back surgery is a necessary option to treat serious musculoskeletal injuries or nerve compression.

Back surgery is mostly required and reasonable for patients whose pain has not decreased even after several months of non-surgical treatments.

When should you consider back surgery?

The decision to consider back surgery should always come after trying non-surgical treatments. If you continuously have the pain in the back then you may talk to your doctor about the surgery.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) advises surgery for those who have back pain that is caused by a tumor, an infection, or a nerve root problem called cauda equina syndrome, however, these cases are rare.

What are the risks of back surgery?

Because the back surgery is done closer to the nervous system, this can carry higher risks than other types of surgeries. 

The recovery period is too long even after successful back surgery. Healing may take months. Also, you may lose some flexibility permanently. 

Some of the other risks and complications include;

  • Heart attack
  • Herniated disk
  • Nerve damage
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Stroke
  • Blood clots
  • Reaction to anesthesia or other drugs

What are the benefits of back surgery?

  • You’re more physically fit
  • Able to attend to work
  • Able to be more productive at work
  • Your mood improves
  • Ability to move around better
  • There’s no need to take any pain medications.

‘Ask Gogodoc About’ is an educational series providing information on various symptoms, pains, and disorders. (*intended for educational purposes only. If you are experiencing symptoms, please reach out to book an online GP consultation with a Gogodoc GP.) Talk to a doctor online at a time that suits you from home with a phone or video appointment. You can easily book an appointment with GP.

 

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