Back pain is not an uncommon ailment, especially for individuals who work in the construction, manufacturing and healthcare service industries. It’s also not uncommon to postpone or avoid surgery for back pain, but once your acute back pain becomes chronic and you’ve exhausted all management and treatment options, surgery may be the best choice for you.
Unfortunately, with surgery comes the risk for complications. While some complications are minor or temporary, other complications can be major and permanent. This means that you may be in the hospital multiple times after your initial surgery to treat these complications.
Complications of Back Surgery
- Infection: There is a risk of infection during any surgery and can either be in the incision only or throughout the areas around the vertebrae and spinal cord. Deeper wound infections can be serious and may require additional operations.
- Scarring and Scar Tissue: Some patients never fully recover from back surgery, partially due to the healing process. Scar tissue can build up around the nerve at the site of surgery, resulting in pain, numbness, tingling and restricted movement.
- Nerve Injury: Back surgery puts patients at a high risk of nerve damage due to bruising, inflamed tissue or lacerations. The medication or syringe used for anesthesia can also cause nerve damage, which can either be temporary or permanent.
- Cardiac Complications: Potential cardiac complications from back surgery include air embolism, cardiac arrest, arrhythmia, congestive heart failure (CHF), hypertension, hypotension, infarction and ischemia.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis: Back surgery puts patients at risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition where a blood clot forms in the deep veins in your body. This typically occurs in the legs and can cause pain or swelling, but it can also occur without noticeable symptoms. DVT has the potential to become serious when the blood clots break loose, travel through your bloodstream and move into your lungs, which blocks blood flow. This is known as pulmonary embolism.
Conservative Treatment of Back Pain
Before jumping straight to back pain surgery, consider using conservative management to treat your back pain. These non-surgical options include using physical therapy, applying ice and heat, staying physically active on a regular basis, stretching and strengthening your muscles and taking pain relievers as needed.
How to Minimize the Risk of Complications
If surgery is your only option, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the risk of complications from surgery. Before setting a date for surgery, meet with your primary care provider to ensure you are healthy enough for surgery. If you are a smoker, stop smoking. Notify your doctor if you’re currently suffering from any infection. Finally, postpone your surgery if you can in order to improve your health and weight. Complications from back surgery are more likely to occur in overweight patients.
Let Dugan & Associates Help You!
If you or someone you love suffers from ongoing complications from back surgery, the team at Dugan & Associates is ready to look at your case. Our team of experienced workplace injury lawyers will make sure you receive the maximum monetary compensation available to you. Give us a call at 412-353-3572 or contact us online today for your free consultation