In an ideal world, every surgery would go perfectly every single time, but we know that’s just not the case. World class doctors and surgical teams do everything in their power to reduce the likelihood of failed surgery, but sometimes the operation simply fails to yield the desired result. So why do surgeries sometimes fail, and how do surgeons work to prevent these issues? We answer those questions and more in today’s blog.
Preventing Common Reasons Why Spine Surgeries Fail
Even though we’re talking about “common” reasons why spine surgeries fail, it’s worth noting that these are very uncommon in the grand scheme of things. The vast majority of spine surgeries are successful, and although true success rates vary by procedure, most spine surgeries have success rates at or above 95 percent. However, when they don’t go as planned, here’s a look at some of the reasons why:
- Wrong Underlying Problem – This is why we always recommend that you seek out a second opinion prior to surgery. Surgery is a big deal, and you should have a second set of eyes on your condition before you make the decision to get surgery. We offer second opinions and we also welcome our patients to get a second opinion after we’ve recommended surgery. If two surgeons see the same thing and recommend the same treatment, odds are the operation will treat the correct underlying problem. Treating the symptoms and not the root cause of pain sometimes lead to a failure to rectify the problem, both when treating conservatively or with surgery.
- Scar Tissue Formation – Scar tissue forms around the surgery site as it heals, and it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions for helping your wound site heal properly. Even with proper care, scar tissue can sometimes entrap spinal nerves and cause compression-related pain. We use minimally invasive techniques to reduce scar tissue formation and recommend physical therapy techniques to help break up scar tissue formation as your surgical site heals in order to prevent scar tissue-related problems.
- Failed Union/Fusion – Spinal surgery itself is a complex process, as the surgeon is attempting to fuse together discs, stabilize the spine or reconnect fractured bones. Sometimes the fusion simply doesn’t take, or the spine remains unstable despite the surgeon’s best efforts. This can be caused by a problem during surgery, a patient being too active and putting too much stress on their back after surgery, or through no fault of provider or patient. We use highly specialized guidance techniques to ensure every bone, screw and plate are exactly where they need to be in order to give you the best chance at a successful operation.
- Poor Surgical Technique – A final reason why spine surgeries can fail is due to an inability by the surgeon to perform the operation correctly. Either due to error or inexperience, an operation may not be performed like it needs to be in order for the patient to achieve full relief. With more than 5,000 spine surgeries under his belt, Dr. Sinicropi has an advanced knowledge of even some of the most highly complex spine procedures, and his track record speaks for itself.
For more information on why spine surgeries don’t always succeed, or to talk with Dr. Sinicropi about your spine pain, reach out to his office today.