We talked about Failed Back Surgery Syndrome last week and how it impacts one’s life when even a large scale intervention does not bear fruit. Indeed, most people who suffer from FBSS are more likely to be depressed, report stress and increased pain and are generally perturbed by a lack of progress in their pain relief efforts.
But there are few things you can do before the surgery itself to make sure that it doesn’t falter, which may include avoiding the surgery itself, and prevent yourself from a whole host of troubles.
Get an accurate Diagnosis
This may sound simple enough but a key reason why most spine surgeries fail is because of an inaccurate diagnosis. Rarely is spine surgery advised when there’s no discernable anatomical cause such as a pinched nerve or instability.
The problem is it’s quite easy for an underlying condition to be completely different than what is apparent, or indicated by such symptoms, initially. So when you’re operated due to a faulty diagnosis, it’s but to be expected that the pain will not cease.
So always try and get an accurate diagnosis, go for a second opinion even. Pester you surgeons on the source of your pain and what exactly would they be addressing with the operation. Get opinions on alternative options, and the worst case scenario if you were to avoid the surgery.
Do not hesitate with your questions because it’s your body they’ll be operating on and you have the right to have your answers.
Trust your surgeon
While you should certainly be inquisitive, you also ought to place a certain level of trust on the surgeon. They are best at what they do and usually have your best interests at their heart. If they seem to dodge your questions, or avoid explaining the whole procedure, only then should you start having your doubts.
Otherwise, most surgeons would be happy to answer all your questions, some of which you definitely should pose like
• The number of surgeries they perform in a year
• How previous patients have reacted to similar surgeries
• Availability of patients from prior successful surgeries for a conversation
• Details of the surgery team who would be operating on you, and more
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Weigh Your Probability
No surgery can ever be guaranteed to be success, and likewise with spine surgeries, nothing is ever 100% assured. However, there are certain type of surgeries which have a higher probability of success than others and you need to investigate them to improve your chances.
For instance, even though discectomies and microdiscectomies are advised for lumbar herniated discs, the region affected by pain plays a big role in determining how successful it is. The chances of the surgery being successful is higher If the pain is in the legs, rather than the lower back.
Likewise spine fusions are more successful if the issue is spinal instability (spondylolisthesis) rather than multi-level lumbar degenerative disc disease.
So seek information on the surgery and it’s success rate before embarking on the long journey.
Rehab should be your top priority
If anything is as detrimental to your back surgery as a misdiagnosis, it’s improper rehab. Rehabilitation is one of the cornerstones of back recovery and when you’re not fully committed to it, it’ll just lead to recurrence of pain. You should always speak with your physiotherapist about your condition, surgery and rehab in detail. After that, push yourself to stick to the rehab plan for that is your path to pain relief.
Trust yourself and make up a plan
You’ve made the decision to go for back surgery, and it’s about time you trust your instincts and stick to your decisions. You should also plan and prepare yourself for all outcomes, so that you could have a easier path to recovery. Talk to your family, set things up at work, clear out all financial settlements and set up a good rehab program. This way you could reduce stress considerably and stick up your psychological profile to face the surgery, and get rid of pain once and for all.
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