1. Spine surgery requires months of recovery and I won’t be able to work for quite some time.
In today’s age of modern spine surgery, this is just not true. The use of minimally invasive techniques allows for smaller incisions and minimizes muscle trauma, significantly reducing post-operative pain and complications. Recovery time is considerably shortened and many patients are able to go home the same day. More extensive procedures may require a few days in the hospital, but patients are usually out of bed and walking the day after surgery.
Time off from work varies based on the type of surgery and your duties at work. Many minimally invasive procedures allow patients to return to work within one to two weeks after surgery. Consult with your surgeon to determine the exact time off needed before you can return to work safely. You will like be surprised at how little time you need to recover
2. I may never be able to walk after spine surgery.
While there are risks involved with every surgical procedure, the risks for complications are significantly lower with today’s advanced techniques and technologies. Changes in the field of spine surgery have eliminated many of the concerns of the past. Our fellowship trained, board certified orthopaedic spine surgeons have spent years mastering spinal anatomy, as well as the safest, most innovative, least invasive surgical techniques.
3. The pain of surgery will be worse than the pain of living with the condition.
This is just simply not true. Spine surgery is much more precise than ever before, especially when minimally invasive techniques are used. Incisions are far smaller so there is less trauma to nerves and muscle requiring much less time to heal. All spine surgeries are performed under general anesthesia where you will essentially be asleep and experience no pain for the entire surgery. There are many techniques we use during surgery to help minimize any post-operative pain. One such technique is the gentle handling of soft tissues during wound closure. Another is injecting long acting local anesthetics into your muscles, soft tissues, and skin which is allows for less pain.
The best cure for back pain is getting the right diagnosis. A spine specialist can evaluate you and discuss effective, recognized treatment options that can reduce or eliminate your back pain and get you back to your life and the activities you enjoy.
We recognize that the idea of spinal surgery can be fearful and intimidating. We are therefore always available to spend as much time as needed to go over your condition, the recommended procedure and any associated risks, as well as any alternatives to surgery
Daniel E. Choi, MD
Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon