The ABCs of Revision Spine Surgery

Revision Spine Surgery: What is it?

The designation of Revision Spine Surgery can sound deceiving at first. What does that mean exactly? Are you revising the original layout of my spine like you would revise the first draft of an essay?

Quick answer: No.

Long Answer:  Revision Spine Surgery is a surgical procedure to resolve, or repair, a previously failed spine surgery. When we say failed, we mean a surgery that did not produce its intended outcome. Also called Failed Back Syndrome, this term generally refers to individuals who experience continued pain or other serious symptoms despite having a surgical procedure to address them.

With numerous conditions leading to an initial spine surgery, there are just as many reasons that can lead to the need for a second.

Who May Need Revision Spine Surgery?

The spine is a sensitive area with a complicated set of bones, muscles, tendons, ligament, nerves, discs, and fascia. The chances for surgical error and accidental tissue damage are higher than one might like to admit. Spaces are small and tissues are fragile.

Despite this fact, however, most Revision Spine Surgeries do not occur to remedy a surgeon’s previous technical failure.

In fact, Revision Spine Surgery is more likely to be necessary due to any of the following post-surgical conditions:

  • Wrong location: A surgeon can sometimes perform surgery on the wrong part of the spine, whether this is due to inadequate visibility or pure surgical error.
  • Wrong patient: Put simply, procedures are sometimes performed on people who don’t really need the procedure or who won’t be able to recover successfully. For example, a patient with instability in the spine due to osteoporosis will likely heal improperly when hardware and prosthetics are implanted into the vertebrae during fusion surgery. Their bones are too brittle to preserve these implants.
  • Wrong Diagnosis: Improperly diagnosed spinal conditions will almost always result in failed surgery. If the surgeon is not targeting the real problem, then it will not be fixed.
  • Problems with Recovery: Unsuccessful bone grafting followed by a failed post-surgical fusion can lead to continued pain, spinal instability, and a worsening condition.
  • Infection: Infection, although rare, can lead to improper healing, nerve damage, and increased scarring.
  • Scarring: The formation of scar tissue can harden around the spine or even begin to encapsulate nerves. This can lead to stiffness and more debilitating nerve pain.

The Benefits of Revision Spine Surgery?

I know what you may be thinking … The benefits of having more surgery?

Who wants to have more surgery? And even more: If it happened once, why wouldn’t the same surgical error or failure just happen again? … All valid points.

I know it all may seem counter-intuitive or out of sorts. But, there are definite and substantial benefits to having Revision Spine Surgery. Most of these benefits start with RELIEF. 

4 Types of Relief

The Relief of Knowing: A diagnosis can lead someone to spine surgery. And then, when their surgery is unsuccessful, they are left wondering why. Why didn’t the surgery help me and why am I still in so much pain? An original misdiagnosis is often the main factor that can necessitate Revision Spine Surgery. An accurate reassessment and diagnosis by a surgeon can finally bring closure to all of those questions. Working with a new surgeon and their team of clinicians will allow for a thorough investigation into what is really going on.

The Relief from Physical Symptoms: The resolution of debilitating pain and symptoms is one of the main goals of Revision Spine Surgery. Not only this, but minimally invasive surgical techniques allow for smaller incisions, less blood loss, less scarring, and less painful procedures. These days people are experiencing shorter hospital stays and a faster, more successful recovery.

The Relief from Psychological Symptoms: Chronic back pain and debilitation often comes paired with debilitating psychological symptoms. Insomnia, anxiety, and depression often occur. Furthermore, isolation caused by debilitation can accelerate these negative psychological experiences. Finding relief from you back pain can help to alleviate these psychological side effects.

The Relief from Future Complications: And finally, reaching a decisive and correct diagnosis is key. Receiving the right treatment is priceless. Revision Spine Surgery can provide immediate spinal pain relief, as well as the avoidance of future setbacks and challenges.

At the Advanced Spine Center, Dr. George Naseef specializes in both complex and routine spinal revision procedures. To find your personal relief from the debilitating pain of a failed back or neck procedure, contact our in-house team of revision spine surgery specialists today!