Many patients fear the consequences of any spinal procedure. Spine surgery is perceived as one’s last resort, a major surgery that no one would undergo eagerly. There’s no denying that the decision about surgery should be well-consulted and thought through. It’s also true that if it’s possible to cure the pain with physical activity, rehabilitation, it’s better to avoid the surgical table. Hoverer that doesn’t mean that such surgeries are to be avoided at all costs. They help patients with chronic pain, bring back once lost mobility, and increase the quality of life.
Back surgery is not a small affair, but the presumption that it always carries serious consequences is a myth. Different types of spinal surgeries differ in their complexity. The most common types are discectomy, foraminotomy, laminectomy, and spinal fusion.
All of them have their variants and imply different recovery times. Perhaps, the most serious one is spinal fusion, which requires connecting two or more spine bones and prolonging recovery time. However, that’s not true for other types, which increase a patient’s mobility even six weeks after the procedure. Many people consider spine surgery abroad.
It’s not enough to say that they don’t have to be. Read the list of consequences and discuss them with your doctor to assess the risk in your case.
It’s natural to fear serious risks involved in the surgery. Spinal surgeries are carried out close to the nervous system. They may involve terrifying risks such as spinal infections or paralysis. The doctors will also warn you of reduced mobility, nerve damage, herniated disk, blood clots, or a reaction to anesthesia.
However, not all types of spinal surgeries pose the same level of risk. The science of spine surgery has developed immensely. Doctors use advanced monitoring systems and best, standardized procedures, which minimizes the risks.
Back surgeries require some time to heal. However, different types mean different recovery times! It depends on the complexity of the procedure, your age, health, and fitness level. For example, discectomy, foraminotomy, or minimally invasive spine injuries might take only a few weeks to recover from. Complex, traditional spine surgeries like laminectomy or fusion surgery are likely to take around four months, up to a year.
If you picture yourself laying on a surgical table with an open back, that may not be true for your condition. Many back surgeries are minimally invasive spine surgeries, which are very precise and expose less of your anatomy. Doctors use special navigating cameras to make minimal changes in the body.
People are afraid of a long convalescence time during which they will be taking strong painkillers, like addictive opioids. Patients after back surgeries are treated with opioids and other drugs. However, there’s no need to panic. You will be taking them with a doctor’s supervision who will adjust the therapy to minimize the risk of addiction, and you will follow complementary, non-drug therapy.
Every back surgery is an individual situation. The best thing you can do is to consult doctors about your condition, benefits, and risks. Don’t let yourself be guided by fear and prejudice. Medicine is one powerful science that increasingly improves the length and the quality of life.