Myths of Spinal Surgery

Myths of Spinal Surgery
July 08 04:26 2016 Print This Article

The thought of spine surgery is enough to put fear in the hearts of most people. This is because of the many myths surrounding the procedures and how the facts have been distorted. Yes, spinal surgery may be a major procedure, but it is a common one that is both safe and has a very high success rate.  The most common of these myths are:

  • All spinal surgeries are severe major procedures. The spine is a large and very complex structure, but that does not mean that the surgery is also the same. Today many spinal conditions can be treated with minimally invasive (keyhole) procedures that enable reduce the incision size so that scarring, pain, the risk of post-operative infection is reduced, and overall recovery is much faster than in the past. Even if keyhole surgery is not an option, advances in spinal surgical techniques and procedures, like robotic surgery, mean that the most complex of spinal surgeries is now much faster and safer than in the past.
  • A spinal specialist will always advise surgery. This is entirely incorrect. A spinal specialist is focused on treating the spinal problems and if this can be done without surgery, this will be the doctors’ first option. In many cases, lifestyle changes, exercise, and medication may be prescribed to alleviate a problem. Only if this is not possible or effective will surgery be considered. Accepting generalization about spinal surgery is dangerous because the myths can cause people to avoid treatments that will improve the quality of life.

  • Surgery is the last resort. If, after all, tests and examinations have been completed, a spinal specialist thinks that the best way to treat a spinal problem, relieve pain, restore mobility and help the patient return to a more active, pain-free, and productive life is surgery, it will be presented to the patient as the best option. When surgery is the right choice, the earlier it is done, the better in catching and treating the condition before it becomes worse so that the recovery and return to active life is faster is the best course of action.
  • Spinal surgery recovery is unbearably painful. There will be pain and some degree of discomfort after any surgery because spinal surgery may be a significant procedure that does not mean that the pain will be great. New techniques and medications make the recovery process far more pain-free and pleasant than it used to be.
  • Recovery is long and painful. With minimally invasive surgery and other modern procedures, the recovery time for spinal surgery has reduced considerably. The time taken will depend on the surgical procedure, so it may be far less than people think in many cases.
  • Life after spinal surgery will be restricted. Spinal surgery aims to enable the patient to return to the pre-problem quality of life as far as possible. Depending on the nature of the surgery and the patient’s overall health, there may be some restrictions on activities. There will be no restrictions in many cases, except to not take needless risks with the spine, which applies to everyone.

There are many more myths and half-truths about spinal surgery that a person with spine problems will encounter. It is far better, in terms of physical and mental health, treatment of the condition, recovery, return to active life to ignore the myths, consult a spine specialist for a factual evaluation of the condition, and advise on the best treatment options.


Originally published July 8, 2016, updated January 18, 2021

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