The prospect of spine surgery can seem daunting, and odds are you have a few questions or concerns. It’s perfectly normal to feel a little uneasy about your spine operation, but our job as surgeons is to help put your mind at ease. Today, we share five common concerns people have about back surgery, and we explain why they really aren’t that concerning.
Common Surgical Concerns
Here are some common concerns some patients express before or after spine surgery:
1. It’s Going To Be Painful – Surgery itself is almost always pain free because anesthesia is used to numb the area. Other surgeries involve enough anesthesia to put the patient in a sleep-like state, ensuring they do not feel anything during the operation. You may experience some discomfort in the first few days after the operation, but surgical teams work hard to ensure you have the right pain relievers to control any painful flareups.
2. Surgical Risks – There are always risks with any surgery, but surgical teams have gotten so much better controlling for these risks. Problems like excessive bleeding, infection and nerve damage occur at a far lower rate than they did in the past, partially from advances in medical knowledge, and partially because we’ve perfected minimally invasive surgical techniques that pose less of a risk to the body.
3. Surgery Might Fail – Similar to the above point, surgical success rates on spine operations have continued to climb in the past few decades, so you really shouldn’t be concerned about the operation itself failing. When surgeries do fail, the majority of the time it is because the patient attempted to get back to normal activity too quickly without allowing the hardware to strengthen the weakened spine. Listen to your doctor and take it slow in terms of your rehab.
4. Missing Work/School – Missing work or school can add stress to your life after spine surgery, and while we can’t completely alleviate this stress, be sure to take some steps before your operation so that you can have some peace of mind afterwards. Tell your boss or teachers of the surgery well in advance, see if there’s any work you can bring home so you don’t fall behind, and explain your projected rehab so they know when to expect you back. Doing so will help keep you from feeling anxious about missing school or work.
5. Inability to Move – It’s true, it may be harder to move around your house for a couple weeks after surgery, and while the prospect of being bedridden or using a wheelchair can seem daunting, oftentimes spine surgery will make you more mobile than you were before the surgery. So while you might be concerned about your short-term mobility, remember that spine surgery will actually bring you a greater quality of life in the long run!