Lumbar Spinal Surgery

Lower back or lumbar spine condition is usually caused by injury or trauma, herniated disc, osteophytes and spinal stenosis. Sign and symptoms of lumbar spine problems include weakness of legs or feet; pain, numbness of feet, toes or legs; and loss of bladder or bowel control.

For severe cases of lumbar spine problem or conditions that does not respond to non-surgical form of treatment then lumbar spinal surgery is necessary. The procedure is done while you are under general anesthesia so that the patient is unconscious and pain free all the time of the operation. An incision is then made in the affected area. The bones or tissues that presses on the nerve or the spinal cord is eliminated and the path through which the nerve pass is widened to avoid any further pressure on the nerve. There are cases that spinal fusion is necessary for support and stabilization in the area.

Just like any other major operation the patient faces risk. One, it face the risk for any anesthesia which may include breathing problems and reactions to medications. Another risk is in the spinal surgery itself which may include infection and bleeding. Other risk that a patient has to face is paralysis due to nerve damage, muscle weakness, blood clots and loss of bladder and bowel control.

Success of such surgery is not that high so that even surgeons do not really recommend surgery. In fact a new study was conducted and it showed that most patients who undergo lumbar spinal surgery results were worse. Figures shows that over one fourth of patients who undergo surgery were able to return work compared to two-thirds of those who are treated using the conservative method or without surgery.

It was found out too that among the number of patients who undergo surgery, thirty-six percent of it suffers from complications and twenty-seven percent needs a repeat surgery. The number of surgical patients who have permanent disability is around eleven percent compared to two percent of those who are treated non-surgically.

In conclusion, researchers conclude that lumbar spinal surgery in treating lower back injury is not that effective since it is linked with high percentage of disability, longer recovery time thus long time away from work, ongoing pain reliever medication use and poor return to work status (Spine Journal, February 15, 2011).