There is always a risk of complications in surgical procedures; back surgery is no exception. When it comes to back surgery, it’s important to take its complications into consideration to avoid any health hazards in the future.
At times, back pain can turn out to be unbearable, thus leaving you with no other option but to opt for a back surgery. In such circumstances, one needs to consult the doctor and take a note of all the complications that can occur in the course of the surgery, or after it.
Complications You Need to Consider
The spinal cord is one of the most crucial components of the body, with a range of bodily functions attributed to it. That being said, any damage caused to the spinal cord or spinal column can result in some adverse effects on your overall health. When in comes to back surgery, risks involved range from a simple headache, as a result of allergy to anesthesia, to probability of suffering from paralysis due to the damage caused to the spinal cord. Some of the major complications of back surgery are discussed below.
Spinal Fluid Leak
In course of a spinal surgery, the chances of a dural tear cannot be ruled out. This occurs when the membrane surrounding the spinal cord is ruptured during the surgical process. The tear, in turn, triggers spinal fluid leak in the body. In course of a back surgery, several spinal fluid leaks occur. Some of these are noticed and corrected, while some go unnoticed, but correct themselves on their own.
However, there are some leaks which are neither noticed, nor too small to heal on their own. Over a period, these leaks can result in more complications and eventually trigger severe ailments (such as spinal meningitis) and infections. If this occurs, the individual may have to undergo a second surgery to correct the problem.
Nerve Damage and Paralysis
The nerves in our spine are also subjected to damage during this surgical process. These nerves are extremely sensitive in nature, so any damage to them can disrupt the nerve signals to the area to which they cater and hamper related body functions. Though the occurrence is rare, autonomic nerve injury can result in some complications in the heart or lungs and eventually result in death.
The chances of spinal cord injury during back surgery are also quite common. In fact, the risk is at its peak when the surgical process involves working close to the spinal cord. Though the chances are quite rare, any such damage to the spinal cord can result in paralysis at times.
An infection is yet another complication associated with several surgical processes, including back surgery. The infection can occur in the skin or within the surgical wound. The chances of infection are greater in certain cases. For instance, the use of hardware to reinforce a fusion increases the possibility of infection. At times, this infection starts spreading within the body. If it reaches the spinal column, it may further worsen and even result in the person’s death.
Of the various complications likely to occur in this case, blood loss is perhaps the most common. In course of spinal surgery, several blood vessels in the frontal incision need to be moved to reach the spine. Though the number of blood vessels in the back is less, they do exist and need to be moved. In such a scenario, the chances of inducing some damage to them exists in plenty. This damage can result in unexpected blood loss during the surgery. If this blood loss continues after the surgery, the individual is bound to experience symptoms of weakness and might have to opt for second surgery to correct the problem.
Other than these complications, the patient may also experience problems like allergic reaction to some anesthetics and/or anaphylactic shock. The use of general anesthetics can also result in infections of the pulmonary system. Other dangers of back surgery include blood clotting, sexual dysfunction, pseudarthrosis, etc.
That, however, doesn’t mean opting for a back surgery is not a good option. In fact, it is one of the best measures to relieve you of that intense back pain. Depending on a range of factors, including medical history and other ailments you are suffering from, the specialist will subject you to proper diagnosis and determine whether you should opt for the surgery or not.