Sometimes, conservative treatments may fail to alleviate spine disease symptoms in some patients. In that event, the doctor may advise the patient to undergo spine surgery to correct the abnormality and improve symptoms. However, like with any other medical procedure, not all spinal surgeries may be successful. Though the risk of failed spinal surgery is rare, a revision spinal surgery might be considered beneficial.
We understand that undergoing spinal surgery, let alone a revision, may not be an easy decision. However, with advanced minimally invasive methods, spinal revision surgery may be easier than you think. With experienced surgeons at NJ Spine & Orthopedic, you can trust us to give you your normal life back.
Symptoms of Failed Spinal Surgery
After spinal surgery, it may take weeks or months before you can enjoy the full benefit of the procedure. Also, although some symptoms are normal during recovery, some might indicate a failed spinal surgery. Some of these symptoms may include the following:
- Worsening pain that reappears soon after the first procedure
- Unable to balance yourself
- Bowel dysfunction
- Infection in the spine
- Cauda equina syndrome, which means compression of multiple nerves, causing pain in the back and legs
If you’re experiencing any of the above or any other unexpected symptoms, talk to the doctor who operated on you. After review and investigation, they may suggest a revision surgery to treat these symptoms.
6 Signs You May Need a Revision Spinal Surgery
Before opting for any procedure, it’s crucial to weigh things up with the help of your doctor. In some circumstances, revision surgery is unnecessary, and its risks may outweigh the potential benefits. In other cases, it might be the last resort to treat your spine-related condition. Here are some signs to look for after spinal surgery to determine whether revision surgery may be needed:
1. Degeneration of Adjacent Vertebrae
Though initial back surgery might help to heal the affected area in your spine, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the other areas of your spine aren’t prone to degenerative disc disease. If you continue to experience the same symptoms, such as pain, numbness, and stiffness, soon after or even weeks or months after your initial surgery, it might mean revision surgery may help treat the disc(s) that have been affected.
2. Further Disc Herniation
Some conservative spinal surgeries involve removing only the affected part of the disc and leaving the rest part intact. Unfortunately, in as many as half of the cases, the disc may degenerate further, causing the symptoms to worsen. In this case, your doctor may suggest a revision surgery to remove the whole disc and have it replaced with an artificial disc.
This is where the vertebrae fail to fuse as expected. Typically, it takes about 12 months for your spines to connect fully. However, existing conditions and other factors, such as smoking and the use of corticosteroids, may deter the fused spines from knitting as needed. Failure to use fusion hardware may also increase the risk of a fusion failure. Revision surgery may be necessary to correct the issue.
4. Scar Tissue Formation
The spinal cord is a very sensitive part of the body, and the normal, natural scar tissue growth after surgery may irritate or compress the spinal nerve roots. This might be the issue if the pain reoccurs or if symptoms fail to improve even after months of the initial spinal surgery.
5. Hardware Issue
Various back surgeries involve the use of artificial hardware, like in the case of cervical artificial disc replacement. Though the risk for complications is very low with minimally-invasive methods, the possibility isn’t nonexistent. The artificial disc or hardware may move, break, or cause an unwanted reaction in the body. When this happens, a surgeon may suggest a revision surgery to reposition the disc correctly, replace it, or remove it altogether.
6. Worsening Deformity
Though surgery is one of the best ways to prevent curves in a patient with scoliosis or osteoporosis from progressing, the results aren’t always as expected. The spine deformity may continue to worsen, causing the patient untold pain, discomfort, and in rare cases, difficulty breathing, standing, or walking. Though you might be skeptical about undergoing revision surgery, it may be the best option to stop further deformity.
Contact a Skilled and Experienced Spine Surgeon Today for Expert Advice
Getting revision spinal surgery can be overwhelming to think about, especially if you were worried about getting surgery in the first place. However, sometimes it’s the best way to get us the care and treatment we need to help fix the problem at hand.
At NJ Spine & Orthopedic, our surgeons are well-equipped with advanced minimally-invasive methods and can operate on you in an outpatient setting. This is because the methods involve fewer cuts and higher precision, which means minimal blood loss, pain, and trauma. It is also safe, effective, and has a short recovery period. Fill out our online form or call us at (866) 553-0612 if you or a loved one has symptoms of failed spinal surgery or any other spinal cord condition.