Everyone who undergoes spinal surgery has high hopes for an outcome that offers freedom from pain and ease of movement, but sometimes the results are disappointing. You may even suffer more than before your surgery.
This is nothing short of devastating.
As a highly skilled and respected board-certified neurosurgeon with vast and varied experience performing spine surgery, Dr. Benjamin Cohen is dedicated to doing whatever’s necessary for his patients. This includes revision spine surgery, which affords them a second chance at relief from pain, numbness, and mobility limitations.
Why is initial back surgery unsuccessful?
Though some patients can attribute their need for revision spine surgery to something that was done incorrectly in their first procedure, most are recommended due to factors other than a patient’s previous surgery.
Revision spine surgery presents new challenges in addition to those that were present when you had your initial surgery, and Dr. Cohen is well-equipped to manage them.
Each patient in need of revision spine surgery has unique needs. This is why Dr. Cohen creates treatment plans that are based on his careful assessment of your entire pain history, how soon your pain developed after your initial surgery, and a detailed evaluation of your overall medical history and health.
Common reasons for revision spine surgery
Our patients most often require revision spine surgery for these reasons:
1. Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS)
Unfortunately, though many people find relief from chronic pain after many types of back surgery, as many as 40% of patients continue to have pain and mobility challenges following their surgery. This phenomenon is called failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS), and it’s something Dr. Cohen has worked to solve for many patients.
2. Recurring disc herniation (slipped disc)
The discs are the spine’s shock absorbers, and they protect your vertebrae. Each disc has a gel-like core and sturdy exterior. Problems and pain occur when part of the soft interior of a disc pushes through a tear in the exterior. Serious pain, as well as arm and leg numbness and weakness, results when the protruding material compresses a nerve or multiple nerves.
Recurring disc herniation happens when herniated disc pain returns after a successful microdiscectomy, done to relieve nerve root pressure.
Radiculopathy is a result of a spinal nerve root being pinched anywhere on the spine — the cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back), or lumbar (lower back) areas. This is another condition where pain isn’t limited to the back, but extends to the arms, legs, and shoulders.
If the point at which your nerve roots leave the spine gets crowded due to narrowing, pain develops and worsens. A range of conditions are responsible for this, including spinal stenosis, bone spurs, and slipped discs.
This condition arises when the bones don’t heal properly after a spinal fusion surgery. During spinal fusion, the surgeon connects two or more adjacent vertebrae. The goal of the surgery is to halt movement between the vertebrae, thereby eliminating pain and stabilizing the spine. It’s a permanent solution that includes a grafting component.
5. Progressive deformities
Revision spine surgery may be recommended when a deformity, such as severe curvature caused by scoliosis worsens and progresses alarmingly.
Pain and balance problems may become severe, and new symptoms can develop, too. Revision spine surgery can relieve these problems.
6. Adjacent segment disease
Sometimes the vertebral joints that are located above and below your first surgery site degenerate. Revision spine surgery is an option for remedying this.
7. Spinal stenosis
The spinal cord houses nerves that are contained within the spinal canal. Agonizing nerve compression occurs when the spinal canal narrows, a condition called spinal stenosis.
Corrective initial surgeries for spinal stenosis include discectomy (removing or trimming away of a herniated disc), foraminotomy (expanding the opening where the nerves exit the spine), decompressive laminectomy (removal of the top portion of the vertebrae to relieve crowding), and spinal fusion (fusing two vertebrae to stabilize the spine).
If symptoms return with a vengeance after one of these procedures, revision spine surgery may be necessary.
As you can see, there are many instances that may call for revision spine surgery when other treatments fail. Because they’re so varied, Dr. Cohen extensively researches your case and history before he recommends revision spine surgery, but he has also seen it act as the key ingredient in recovery for many grateful patients.
Revision spine surgery is often minimally invasive
Dr. Cohen’s first choice is to perform minimally invasive revision spine surgery, which is quite different from traditional open surgery. This type of procedure requires only a few small incisions and is associated with faster healing, less pain, and a lower infection risk.
Don’t hesitate to call our Garden City office if you’re still suffering after back surgery, or book an appointment with us online.