You’ve had your spine surgery.
But you’re still in pain. You had anticipated that surgery with great hope and now that it’s done, you’re disappointed and following a consultation with your spinal surgeon, you’re looking at yet another surgery. Or maybe you’re reading this, looking for answers about the persistent post-surgical pain you’re in.
If you’re asking, “Why do I need spine surgery again?” or “Why does my back still hurt after spine surgery?”, we’re here to provide some answers.
When Things Go Wrong
Some pain and discomfort in the weeks immediately following surgery is completely normal. What’s not normal is for that pain to persist for months on end.
Revision surgery is done to correct problems with the original surgery. Problems to be rectified may include:
- An abnormal amount of scar tissue has formed at the site of your surgery.
- Your incision may not have healed properly.
- The surgery was successful, but you were misdiagnosed and the underlying cause is still in play.
- Where lifestyle issues exist (obesity, chronic cigarette smoking), you may not have been physically prepared to withstand the trauma of surgery.
Nobody Really Wants Revision Surgery
Up to 40% of US patients undergoing spine surgery will require revision surgery. This is collectively referred to as Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS).
A revision to a surgical intervention is pursued to relieve pain and assure patient comfort. And while nobody really wants revision surgery, sometimes it’s necessary. If you’re in pain, you don’t want to be in pain any longer and the way to achieve that is revision surgery.
Some of the most common causes of FBSS follow:
This complication occurs following spinal fusion procedures and refers to a failure of bones to fuse (the bone didn’t heal). Usually manifesting in under a year after surgery, estimates range from 6% to 36% of patients who develop pseudoarthritis requiring revision surgery.
Pseudoarthritis, however, may also be occasioned by lifestyle issues like smoking. It’s important to understand that this is a great example of how smoking affects post-surgical healing.
Smoking constricts blood vessels, decreasing the flow of blood to the surgical site. Smokers’ bones fuse with more difficulty because of this.
Adjacent Segment Disease
ASD occurs when degeneration of the spinal joint which was operated on occurs. It’s still unknown whether this condition would occur were surgery not to have been performed on patients manifesting ASD. But evidence points to an increased risk of ASD after surgery, resulting in reduced range of motion.
When this occurs, adjacent joints attempt to stand in the gap left by the damaged joint (segment), which causes them to degenerate, in turn.
Symptoms sometimes don’t develop for as long as 3 years after surgery. The good news is that revision surgery can be performed as a total disc replacement.
CTSI – The Spine People
Central Texas Spine Institute, under the guidance of award-winning spine surgeon, Dr. Randall Dryer, treats all conditions of the spine. We offer the full range of options, from non-invasive treatments through surgery.
Contact us to schedule a consultation.