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Painful consequences of unnecessary back surgery

On Behalf of Christian Ayers
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Millions of people suffer from back pain. It might come and go or be chronic; it could be the result of an old injury or a medical condition; the pain could be constant or flare up from time to time. Whatever back pain looks like for an individual, they could be willing to do whatever doctors tell them to alleviate the suffering.

Thus, many people consider paying thousands of dollars and undergoing major surgery to get some relief. However, some studies show that one increasingly common option – spinal fusion surgery – can be ineffective and, ultimately, dangerous.

What is spinal fusion surgery?

The Mayo Clinic describes spinal fusion surgery as an operation that mimics the body’s natural healing process by fusing vertebrae. This fusion prevents movement between the spinal vertebrae.

In theory and for people with specific spinal injuries, the operation can be a sound option to eliminate pain. People with spinal trauma or tumors, for instance, may undergo a successful spinal fusion operation because there is a known cause of the person’s pain.

However, critics argue that the surgery can be unnecessary and ineffective for sufferers of chronic lower back pain with no known cause. Some research suggests that this is the case for over 80 percent of people with chronic low back pain.

But because of the success rates that this surgery has for some people, doctors and other health care workers can make the false connection that it can be a good option for almost anyone. Thus, too many people are getting surgeries that they do not need and are likely to be ineffective.

Why pain sufferers should be cautious

Cases like this highlight how dangerous it is to exaggerate or imply a connection between surgery and healing. And people who have to cope with pain every day can be uniquely vulnerable to parties who make promises in the interest of monetary gain.

When this results in a person undergoing unnecessary surgery, they can be exposed to a host of added complications and damages. Patients can suffer infections, neural injuries and even death as a result of surgery. Should this happen, victims and their families would be wise to examine the legal remedies for negligence and medical malpractice.