OEBB

Risks and benefits

It is important to discuss all the possible outcomes of this procedure with your healthcare provider in order to have realistic expectations of the results. In some cases, depending on your condition, surgery may not always result in complete and full recovery. See Alternative Treatments below for treatment options that can be just as effective as surgery, that are less invasive and may offer benefits like shorter recovery time, shorter time away from work, and fewer to no post-surgery follow-up visits.

Any procedure that is performed near the spinal cord is potentially dangerous. Surgery should be undertaken only in extreme cases, when the herniated disk is causing weakness or paralysis of nerves going to muscles or serving basic body functions, such as bowel or bladder function.

Before you agree to spine surgery, consider getting a second opinion from a qualified spine specialist. Spine surgeons hold differing opinions about when to operate, what type of surgery to perform and whether surgery is warranted at all.

Resources

Please visit these resources for more information:

Understanding Spinal Disk Problems -- Diagnosis and Treatment, 2009, WebMD.

Back surgery: When is it a good idea?. 1998-2010. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). 

Low Back Pain.  May 2009.  American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

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