Do You Need Revision Surgery?

Do You Need Revision Surgery?

You did it. You had spine surgery. And now, months or years after you were supposed to have recovered, you’re still experiencing back pain. Unfortunately, due to the complexities of spinal work, operations don’t always solve the problems they’re meant to address.

A common misconception is that your pain must be persisting because the surgeon did a subpar job. This is often not the case! While surgical errors and failures are certainly within the realm of possibility, it’s more likely your spine simply didn’t heal correctly. And even after a successful surgery, age and activity can deteriorate your spine over time. Due to these potential troublemakers, spinal revision surgery is an unfortunately common necessity.

Signs that you may need revision surgery

Here are some indicators that you should seek a revision surgery consultation:

  • Persistent pain or discomfort
  • Noticeable deformity
  • Trouble performing every day activities
  • Loss of balance

Know the facts and discuss every detail

Revision surgery is another chance at correcting your spine problems and living life without back pain. Revision surgeries are often more complex than initial surgeries because the surgical situation becomes more individualized — everyone’s surgery will progress (or regress) in different ways over time. It’s important to have an in-depth conversation with your spine surgeon so none of your questions go unanswered and, should you decide to undergo revision surgery, so she has a complete understanding of the task before her.

Making the right decision

Considering the variables involved with spinal revision surgery, only you and your doctor can make any sort of definitive call on what’s right for you. However, if you’re living a life of discomfort, putting yourself in a position to make that call is something you owe to your own well-being.

If you think you’re a candidate for revision surgery or have any other neck, spine or back questions, call us at 208-944-0056 today.

The Most Common Types of Spine Surgery

The Most Common Types of Spine Surgery

Deciding to have spine surgery can be a difficult choice to make. Usually, spine surgery is recommended only after nonsurgical treatments have been unsuccessful. Learning about your treatment options is one of the best ways to make the right decision for your health.

Benefits of spine surgery

The most important and obvious benefit to spine surgery is to get relief from chronic back pain when other treatments have failed. Most pain will reduce after surgery and recovery. The benefits of reduced pain will include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Increased range of motion
  • Increased activity
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced dependence on pain medication
  • Increased productivity
  • Ability to work again

Risks involved with spine surgery

Most patients who have spine surgery won’t experience any complications during or after their procedures, but with every surgical procedure comes some degree of risk. Some risk factors include:

  • Reaction to anesthesia or other drugs
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Recurrent disc herniation
  • Nerve damage

Most common types of spine surgery

There are many types of spine surgery. The type of procedure you may need will depend on your condition and its severity. They include:

  • Spinal fusion – The most common form of spine surgery, spinal fusion involves surgically joining the spinal bones (vertebrae) together, restricting the motion between the bones and preventing the stretching of the nerves.
  • Laminectomy – Laminectomy consists of removal of parts of the bone (lamina) in order to relieve pressure on the nerves that could be the source of pain or weakness. Sometimes spinal fusion is performed along with a laminectomy for further spinal support.
  • Foraminotomy – A foraminotomy surgery involves enlarging the nerve openings on the side of the vertebrae in order to widen the gap through which nerve roots exit the spine. This can help relieve pressure on the nerves for reduction — or elimination — of pain.
  • Discectomy – A discectomy involves removing part or all of a slipped or herniated disc to relieve pressure on a spinal nerve.
  • Disc replacement – To help improve motion and relieve pain in the spine, an artificial disc can replace a damaged spinal disc.
  • Interlaminar implant – An interlaminar implant is a device placed in between two vertebrae to help support and maintain the space in between. This is an alternative to spinal fusion in select patients.

In some cases, patients will not experience a reduction in spinal pain after their surgery. It’s highly recommended to explore nonsurgical options prior to choosing spine surgery. For more information, call the spine specialists at Spine Surgery of Idaho today at (208) 944-0056 to schedule an appointment.

The Importance of a Second Opinion

The Importance of a Second Opinion

We understand that the thought of spine, back or neck surgery can be intimidating. You want to be sure you’re making the best choice possible for you and your health, but doing this can require time and research. It’s important to know all your options, including getting a second opinion.

Unfortunately, many patients who desire a second opinion don’t follow through out of fear they may offend their current surgeon, or they simply don’t know who else to turn to. If this sounds like you, remember that your health should be top priority, and any doubts about a recommended surgery are reason enough to get a second opinion. The decision to have spine, neck or back surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly.

There are many reasons why you should consider getting a second opinion. Some significant reasons to seek a second opinion are:

  • You feel uncomfortable with the surgeon or medical staff for any reason
  • You’re interested in exploring non-surgical treatment options
  • The surgeon has difficulty answering questions about the rationale for a suggested procedure or is vague on the surgical plan
  • If you feel that your surgeon or the staff members are not taking the time to listen to and answer your questions
  • You don’t share the same personal goals for your care as your surgeon
  • If you suspect that your initial referral was determined by economic interests rather than who is best suited for your surgery
  • If your initial surgery failed and another surgery is being proposed

Choosing a surgeon for a second opinion can be difficult. Focus on getting an opinion from a skilled, experienced and ethical surgeon who has your best interests in mind. Make sure you do your research, read online reviews or even ask friends for referrals.

Once you have found a surgeon for a second opinion, ask the questions that you may have previously skipped over. The goal of a second opinion appointment is to leave the office feeling informed, with a better understanding of what your options are. Some things you can do to get the most out of your appointment:

  • Ask the surgeon about his or her experience with the specific type of back, spine or neck surgery applicable to your situation
  • Research and ask about past outcomes for patients with similar conditions
  • Ask about alternatives to proposed procedures
  • Inquire on the progression of your condition should you choose to not have surgery
  • Ask about risks or possible complications from the procedure
  • Discuss a plan of action if the surgery doesn’t deliver the outcome you expected

In addition, make sure to bring any copies of tests, X-rays, scans, medical admissions and lists of medications you’re taking that are related to your condition.

More often than not there are multiple procedures and approaches to treat a single condition. Take an active role in your treatment, and don’t settle for anything less than exceptional care. If you are looking to get a second opinion regarding your surgery, call the experts at Spine Surgery of Idaho today at (208) 522-6930 to schedule an appointment.