Surgery may be an option to treat cases of chronic back pain. The type of surgery that will be recommended will depend on the cause of your back pain.
Some surgical options are listed below.
- Discectomy – where the part of the herniated disc that is pressing on your nerve is removed.
- Fusion surgery – if a vertebra has slipped out of place, it may be possible to fuse it into place using metal rods.
- Injections – a variety of injections are available that a surgeon can make into your back in order to help relieve the pain.
As with all surgical procedures, spinal surgery carries some risks. For example, following surgery, there is a 10% chance of infection. If this occurs, further surgery may be required to clean out the infection, although some cases can be treated with antibiotics.
In the case of fusion surgery, there is a 1-2% chance of the vertebrae failing to fuse into place. If this occurs, further surgery will be required.
There is a very low risk that your spinal cord will be damaged during surgery. The chances of this happening are estimated to be six in 1,000 (0.6%). In the rare situation that the spinal cord is damaged during surgery, it could result in problems ranging from some muscle weakness to total paralysis. Your bladder and bowel control may also be affected.
Before having back surgery, your surgeon will be able to fully discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with you. Rehabilitation following surgery is very important for a full, successful recovery.