Mr Sean Molloy
The risks depend on the type of spinal surgery. These may include:
• Infection. There is always a risk of infection when having surgery. This can be of the wound, more deeply or of the inserted metal work.
• Developing blood clots in the legs or lungs which is why mobilisation as soon as possible after surgery is important.
• Damage to nerves. All surgery of the spine has a risk of damaging nerves. This can be minor or major.
Mr Neil Orpen
As surgery is performed on nerves, these are at risk of being injured. Utilising a surgical microscope improves the safety of this and surgeons experience is also a factor. Risks are identifiable and so surgical techniques have been developed to improve the risk profile. As bones are at risk of not fusing in the presence of nicotine, patients will routinely be asked to stop smoking prior to considering a fusion procedure.
Mr Matthias Radatz
The risks involved in spinal surgery depend on many factors.
At a rule of thumb:
- the more invasive, the more risky
- the more implants used the more risky
The general advice is to keep it simple and safe and rely on proven techniques and evidence based procedures. Careful selection and procedure planning can reduce risks significantly.
Risks may include; infection, root damage, cord damage, cerebro-spinal fluid leak, increased neurological deficit, incontinence, scarring, chronic pain, recurrent problems, instability and the need for further surgery to achieve fusion.
The use of implants adds another level of risk as those can fatique, fracture, migrate, dislodge and can potentially be malplaced.