Like is the case with all surgical procedures, spine surgery has its own risks. The most common post-surgery risks include anesthetic complications, bleeding and infection. These complications can become severe and difficult to rectify owing to the sensitivity of the region involved; the spine and the spinal cord. In some instances, surgery may fail to treat your spine condition, making it even worse. Unlike what most patients think, surgery is not the most effective treatment for spinal cord injuries. There are different treatment programs that can be effective for your condition than surgery.
To correct post-surgery complications, surgeons may prescribe further surgical procedures. Subsequent surgery may or may not be fully rectify the condition. It is agonizing enough to undergo a single surgery but it is even worse when you have to visit the theater room subsequent times. There is the mental anguish, physical pain, wasted time and productivity during recovery and the huge sums of money you will have to pay.
Before resorting to spine surgery for treatment of any spinal cord injury, you should understand the risks and complications that may arise. Although modern medical technology has reduced the risks of post-surgery complications, it has not entirely eliminated them. Many patients still end up with complications after going under the knife. Studies show that approximately 20 percent of patients who undergo spine surgery develop complications.
Below are some of the complications associated with spine surgery:
Spinal Cord Injury
When you undergo spine surgery, there is a risk of your spinal cord being damaged. The spinal cord links the brain with the rest of the body. Injury to any part of the spinal cord can paralyze a part of the body since the brain will not be able to coordinate its functions.
Body Hardware Malfunction
By hardware, we are referring to artificial support structures such rods, plates and screws that help in aligning the vertebrae. At times, the hardware may slip out of place, become lose or break after surgery. When this happens, a repeat surgery will have to be done to rectify, replace or remove the hardware.
Before spine surgery is carried out, the patient has to be put to sleep using general anesthesia. General anesthesia is a combination of medications administered intravenously and anesthetic gases. Some patients react negatively to the anesthesia drugs. Negative reaction to the medications can lead to post-surgery complications.
Another risk of using general anesthesia is lung complications. When a patient is given general anesthesia, he or she is put to sleep and maintained in that state by ‘anesthetic gases’. After the operation, the lungs may not pick up normal functionality. The anesthetic gases inhaled may hinder the normal lung functions.
Sexual dysfunction has been linked to spine surgeries where the nerves are affected. Studies show that a percentage of men who undergo spine surgery have difficulty in ejaculation. The dysfunction is primarily caused by damage to the plexus nerve. The damage makes it difficult to ejaculate, as the semen cannot be forced out. Instead, it charts its way through the easiest route into the bladder.
The above are some of the complications that can occur after spine surgery. There are a number of alternative treatments for back pain that can help you. It is important to discuss with your doctor any options you have apart from surgery. Regardless of your back condition, surgery should only be resorted to when other treatment methods or programs have been found out to be ineffective in providing relief.
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