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What are the risks of back surgery?

ANSWER

Most people who get back surgery have no complications.

That said, any operation will have some degree of risk, including:

  • Reaction to anesthesia or other drugs
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Herniated disk
  • Nerve damage, which can lead to weakness, paralysis, pain, sexual dysfunction, or loss of bowel or bladder control

From: Back Surgery: Pros and Cons WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Canale, S. Mosby, 2008. Campbell's Operative Orthopedics,

Pengel, L. 2003. BMJ,

Mirza, S. 2007. Spine,

Brox, J. 2010. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases,

Chou, R. 2009. Spine,

Turner, J. 1992. Journal of the American Medical Association,

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Spinal Fusion," "Artificial Disk Replacement in the Lumbar Spine," "Low Back Pain."

FDA: "Coflex Interlaminar Technology P110008."

Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein on August 1, 2018

SOURCES:

Canale, S. Mosby, 2008. Campbell's Operative Orthopedics,

Pengel, L. 2003. BMJ,

Mirza, S. 2007. Spine,

Brox, J. 2010. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases,

Chou, R. 2009. Spine,

Turner, J. 1992. Journal of the American Medical Association,

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Spinal Fusion," "Artificial Disk Replacement in the Lumbar Spine," "Low Back Pain."

FDA: "Coflex Interlaminar Technology P110008."

Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein on August 1, 2018

NEXT QUESTION:

Why should I talk to the surgeon before undergoing back surgery?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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