Spinal surgery is intimidating under the best of circumstances. When you are in pain and know that your back is not functioning properly, you need to spend the time necessary to gather all of the facts regarding your particular condition, and make sure that you understand the implications of any proposed surgical procedure. Understanding the risks of your surgery and determining whether or not your particular spine procedure might result in additional pain or give rise to a cascade of subsequent surgical procedures is part of your due diligence.
As with any type of surgery, there are inherent risks. As such, your spine surgeon should present to you all conservative options available to treat your condition, and he or she should offer you the most minimally invasive procedure possible to achieve success with your particular condition. Unfortunately, there are situations where no minimally invasive options are appropriate, and you need to be mentally and emotionally prepared to undergo a lengthy and difficult procedure with a long rehabilitation period to follow. Understanding the true nature of your anticipated rehabilitation, and adjusting your expectations accordingly, is critical to the long term success of your procedure. An objective second opinion can help confirm that the most efficient procedure associated with the best long term outcome has been offered to you. Such a second opinion can also be used to help you to mentally prepare for the appropriate course of rehabilitation as seen through the eyes of an independent spine surgeon. If you are unsure of how to proceed, please read this article on how to get a second opinion for spinal surgery.
Is Spinal Surgery Dangerous?
As suggested, there are risks associated with any surgical procedure. It is up to you and your physician to discuss what the acceptable level of risk is for your unique situation. Risks of spinal surgery to be reviewed with your surgeon might include the risk of infection, permanent nerve or spinal cord injury, non-healing of a fusion (pseudarthosis), development of chronic back or neck pain, adjacent level decompensation and the need for subsequent surgery.
As with most surgical procedures, steps can be taken to minimize these risk to you–the patient–so that your recovery is as quick as possible and your overall health and functionality is improved.
Can a Second Opinion Reduce My Spinal Surgery Risks?
Simply put, getting a second opinion from a qualified spine surgeon helps to reduce the overall risk of your procedure. When you permit another surgeon to review your history and imaging data, you gain access to the experience and knowledge of an independent and objective expert in the field of spine surgery who is incentivized only to look out for your best interest.
Our spine surgeons have undergone extensive training at some of the most respected academic medical institutions in the country which may allow for unusual insight into your diagnosis. A personal discussion with one of our surgeons can provide an opportunity for you to consider alternative, and possibly less invasive, solutions for your condition. In summary, our spine surgeons may identify opportunities that your original surgeon overlooked or was unaware of.
Even if our second opinion doesn’t identify a less invasive solution for you, it will provide you with the peace of mind that your surgeon’s recommendations provided the most appropriate treatment for your particular spinal condition.