By Brooke Strickland and Dr. Andrew Cash
The spine is a very complex part of the body and when it comes to operating on it, it takes great skill and attention to detail. If your doctor has told you that you may need revision spine surgery, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there was a mistake in a previous surgery, or even that it was a complete failure. The spine is a very active part of your body and can deteriorate even after surgery has taken place and a remedy to correct the problem might need to happen. For some people, a second (or maybe even a third) spine surgery may need to happen, depending on the specific problem.
So what are some reasons why your surgeon might need to re-operate on you? For one, recurring disc herniations may require revision spine surgery. Even if you have had part of a herniated disc removed the first time, the remaining part of the disc can also herniate and need to be fixed.
If you had spinal fusion surgery, pseudoarthrosis is a risk – when the bones don’t fuse together by the first year post surgery. This is actually a very common occurrence and operating again to ensure fusing takes place is par for the course.
In addition, adjacent segment degeneration may occur after surgery, which means that the spinal joints that are above or below the area of surgery change through degeneration or because of stress at the point of fusion.
Another reason for revision surgery (which is usually on a rarer basis) may be that the hardware that was used (such as prosthetic discs) malfunction or that it is too uncomfortable for the patient. Addressing this issue may require surgery.
For more information on this condition, contact Dr. Cash at www.disclv.com.