Well, we all grew up in an environment where some people are even afraid of an injection given by a doctor. So it’s natural to be scared of surgery, that too for the spine. The spine is one of the main organs associated with many functions in the body. Naturally, when a patient hears the word “surgery or an operation,” it results in anxiety and fear. But the fear of spine surgery is encapsulated with a lot of misconceptions.
Dr Surya Prakash, the best spine surgeon in Hyderabad, says, “Many times, patients particularly ask about alternative treatment options available apart from the surgery because they don’t want to undergo an operation altogether, due to the common misconceptions they have heard.”
The common misconception that flies around the patient with spine problems might be due to:
Bad experience in family/friends undergone spine surgery
One of the common reasons is that someone in the family or a friend’s family had a bad experience after surgery which causes panic. People might have observed paralysis after surgery, which is very rare. Some other complications of spinal surgery are nerve injuries, facial sores vision loss, blood clots, and infection commonly observed.
But in reality, most of the people are not aware of the reasons why the surgery was done to their relative/ friend or didn’t know his/her condition before undergoing surgery. Many critical issues can affect surgery results. Unfortunately, everyone’s conclusion adds up to the final results confusing the patients and their relatives.
For example someone who unfortunately loses his power of arms or legs ( paraplegia / Tetraplegia) due to a fall from height or vehicular accidents undergoes surgery for spinal stabilization which helps them for rehabilitation. These surgeries are not primarily aimed at neurological recovery. If one has knowledge about these,they simply feel that surgery has failed as the patient has not recovered from neurological perspective. People fail to realize that sever spinal cord injuries do not recover in majority of the patients.
Mismatch in expectations, i.e., unable to get desired results
The actual problem is many times patients don’t understand the nature of the problem they suffer from. But doctors try to make them understand the problem, and doctors to take interest when patients like to understand their condition, ask questions related to the problem, and know the available treatment options. The awareness created helps the patients to make proper decisions and make the doctor work easy too.
For example:– Most of the spine surgeons will not advise surgery for the routine wear and tear conditions associated with back pain . Initially, they suggest non-surgical treatment, and if it is not effective, surgery is advised to relieve the symptoms like pain in back, legs and to improve lost body functions. Surgery is also to avoid potential complications like paralysis and loss of control over urination/motion. The main aim of surgery is to manage all the symptoms.
Worry about life after surgery
Most patients Dr Surya Prakash counsel for surgery worry about the quality of life after the spine surgery like will I be able to walk normally after surgery, will I be disabled or bedridden, etc. for which he gave a detailed explanation below.
Neck surgery, low back surgery is the common spine surgeries done for routine problems. Spine surgeons surely emphasize methods that enhance the quality of life after surgery. You can engage in sports and other physical activities even after surgery with proper training, motivation, and guidance from the doctor.
The truth behind the spinal surgeries based on the type of injury and the seriousness of the condition. Surgery might end up being the best and safest option to recover fully. Of course, surgery is always not the only answer; it is still the choice of last resort.
Here are some common misconceptions explained by Dr Surya Prakash, spine surgeon that he had heard during his practice with detailed information.
I will never be active again, like before, after spine surgery, because they are complex procedures.
This is not true; often, the opposite is exact. On the other hand, not all spine procedures are complicated. In some cases, without spinal surgery, patients continuously suffer from symptoms like pain, lack of movement that makes physical activity painful.
After the problem is surgically corrected, patients can get back to their healthy life, including sports. In the case of complex conditions like scoliosis, the quality of life increases a lot with scoliosis surgery. Most of the patients treated by Dr Surya Prakash will improve their quality of life after surgery and regain lost mobility.
Consulting spine surgeon always ends up with a surgery
Many people think a spine specialist would always suggest surgery even for small problems. It is not fact, and it is a misconception, the main goal of a spine surgeon is to make patients pain free and improve the quality of life.Spine surgeons look into all of the available options and customize the treatment options to a specific patient’s case. When non-surgical or conventional treatment can heal a patient, a spine surgeon would always choose that route. However, some cases are not suitable for traditional treatment; in such cases, surgical intervention is inevitable. It is the sole responsibility of a surgeon to help patients make choices and to ensure the patients are going to lead healthy, active lives.
No treatment has relieved my pain yet, so the surgery may not cure me either
This is a misconception that relates to the patient who is overwhelmed, disappointed, and tired of trying numerous non-surgical solutions to get rid of the pain and other symptoms they are still suffering. They don’t realize that surgery can only help to alleviate pain in such conditions, and they likely needed it from the start.
The recovery will be long and painful
Recovery from a spinal surgery purely depends on the condition of the spine and the type of spinal surgery done. For example, recovery is speedy in case of microdiscectomy surgery or a routine anterior cervical spine surgery. While the patients who underwent spinal fusion surgery, the recovery period might be longer. Spine fusions surgeries take more than three months to recover completely, but patients can perform their daily activities like walking within 2 to 4 days, depending on the fusion type.
Recovery will never be painful if you are under the constant supervision of an experienced spine surgeon. Recovery cannot be rushed because it is essential to provide time for the spine to heal properly; so that prevents problems in the future.
I can’t regain my regular strength and perform after a spine surgery
A spine surgeon considering spine surgery means that you are already experiencing severe pain, numbness, and mobility issues and your quality of life is not up to the mark. Some patients fear that surgery would cause more harm than good is not correct. If you’re an ideal candidate for the spinal procedure and have an experienced spine surgeon, the quality of life will be much better than before your surgery.
With the available advanced surgical techniques, surgeons can perform procedures with smaller incisions and less surgical trauma. You might suffer from a short, painful time following the surgery.
If you still have the feeling of anxiety related to spinal surgery, It’s important to talk with your surgeon honestly about your fears and other concerns about surgery. Surgical mistakes happen very rarely. But it’s essential to find an experienced spine surgeon with an excellent record of success in performing particular spine surgery. Dr Surya Prakash, one of the best spine surgeons in Hyderabad, has more than 25 years of experience performing various spinal surgeries with the highest success rate.