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The success or failure of spine surgery depends upon the type of problem and the expected result. The ability to predict the result is the single most important aspect of the treating doctor’s experience and expertise. The patient and the doctor must have realistic expectation from a back operation. Often, a complete pain relief is likely. Sometimes it may not be possible to guarantee complete pain relief but a significant reduction in pain is predictable. A patient in extreme pain and disability may become ecstatic even if his or her pain is reduced partially.On the other hand a patient with minimal pain would appreciate only if his pain is completely relieved. In such a situation, partial relief does not have much value for the patient. Hence if the patient undergoing back surgery is clear about the expected outcome, he or she would be better prepared and avoid disappointment. In this context, one gets a so called “bad result”,if the expectation from the surgery is enormously higher than what the surgery can offer in that particular patient.

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