January 9, 2018

What level of success should I expect after back surgery?

Neck, Back and Spine

This post is part of The Ultimate Guide to Back Pain Relief

Successful back surgery starts with understanding your own goals and expectations. It is important that you communicate what your idea of success is to the surgeon. Tell them what your expectations are post-surgery. Make sure your surgeon understands your recovery goals. Let them know everything about your pain. Your spine surgeon can then let you know how likely surgery is to accomplish those goals. Your surgeon will be able to address your questions based on your specific condition and goals.

What are the benefits of back surgery?

In most cases, the goals of back surgery are to reduce pain, allow patients to be more active, and improve quality of life. Generally, surgery is recommended only when other more conservative medical treatments have not offered significant relief of symptoms. Some additional benefits of surgery might include:

  • You can go back to work safely
  • You are more productive at work
  • You can sleep better
  • You don’t need as much pain medicine
  • You can become more physically fit
  • You can move around better
  • Your mood improves

Risks and potential complications

As serious as back surgery seems, most people who undergo back surgery experience no complications. Modern techniques and technological advances have improved the safety of back surgery. Your spine surgeon will identify specific problems based on your condition and work with you to avoid any complications that could arise. Often you will undergo a medical evaluation to make your risks in undergoing surgery are reduced as much as possible. However, despite all the efforts to eliminate complications, there are still risks to undergoing back surgery.

Pros and cons of back surgery

Back surgery risks may include:

  • Reaction to anesthesia
  • Reaction to drugs after surgery
  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Nerve or spinal cord damage, which can lead to weakness, paralysis, pain, sexual dysfunction or loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Trouble with any implants used during surgery
  • Lack of bone healing (when fusion surgery is performed)
  • Spinal fluid leak
  • Medical complications such as heart attack, blood clots, stroke, or respiratory failure

Read our downloadable guide for more information on the pros and cons of having back surgery to relieve pain.

A life free of constant pain

In most cases, the benefits of having surgery far outweigh the potential complications or spinal surgery risks. OrthoIndy surgeons do not recommend surgery unless the expected benefits outweigh the risks. With years of experience and the most cutting-edge tools available, OrthoIndy spine surgeons will give you the best chance possible to achieve your goals. Make an appointment; let OrthoIndy help you find a solution that works best for you.

The Ultimate Guide to Back Pain Relief cover

The Ultimate Guide to Back Pain Relief

Find out what's causing your back pain and how you can treat it with OrthoIndy's ultimate guide to healing back pain.

Read the guide

Megan Golden

By Megan Golden

Megan is the current marketing specialist for OrthoIndy. Megan graduated from Ball State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising and a communications studies minor and has been with OrthoIndy since then.

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