What Are the Pros and Cons of Spinal Cord Surgery?

Q:
What are the pros and cons of spinal cord surgery?

A:
By the time you sign up for spinal cord surgery, your doctor will probably have tried a number of treatments to ease your back pain. While there are no guarantees the operation will provide relief, there are lots of options. Learn as much as you can about back surgery ahead of time. The more you know, the better the choice you’ll make.

What are the benefits?

Often, the result is more than just a drop in pain. You may find:

  • You can move around better.
  • You don’t need to take as much pain medicine.
  • You can go back to work.
  • You’re more productive at work.
  • Your mood improves.
  • You’re more physically fit.

Are there risks?

Any operation will have some degree of risk, including:

  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots, for instance in your legs or lungs
  • Heart attack
  • Herniated disk
  • Infection
  • Reaction to anesthesia or other drugs
  • Stroke
  • Nerve damage, which can lead to weakness, paralysis, pain, sexual dysfunction, or loss of bowel or bladder control

The odds that something could go wrong go up for people with certain health conditions. They also vary by type of surgery. Part of your surgeon’s job is to identify potential problems. So consult with your surgeon before you head to the OR.

Keyword: spinal cord surgery

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.