Failed discectomy is a term used to categorize discectomy procedures that have failed to relieve the patient’s pain or even made it worse. There are many reasons for a failed discectomy but listed below you will find the two main ones.
Failed Discectomy Causes
Bad diagnosis – This is simple and to the point. A bad diagnosis means that the operating surgeon is most likely going to operate on the wrong nerve, joint, or disc. Fixing something that is not broken will not solve you pain. This is why one of the most important factors for relieving your back pain is to have an accurate diagnosis. Because surgery is not the first treatment option suggested, having an improper diagnosis suggests that you may have been able to relieve your back pain through conservative treatment methods in the first place.
Lack of skill or experience – The second most common cause for a failed discectomy stems from the surgeon himself. If the surgeon lacks the skill and experience required for this complex surgery they could potentially do more harm than good. It is important to know your surgeons credentials; are they board certified, how many years have they been performing this particular surgical procedure, and what have their previous patient’s results been like. It is extremely important that when choosing to proceed with a discectomy procedure you find a competent surgeon you can trust.
Back Pain after Discectomy
It is normal to have back pain after a discectomy procedure so you should not worry yourself. You will also likely feel pain in your legs or arms (depending on the locations of your discectomy) as you rebuild the strength that was lost due to muscular atrophy.
Pain around the incision site is also common and with time it will fade. In the early days after your surgery you may be given pain medicine that will aid in this.
If you are still experiencing back pain after discectomy and you want reassurance that there is nothing wrong, it is best to speak with your physician so you can provide them with specific details. There is nothing wrong with wanting assurance that your pain will eventually go away and you will once again feel normal.
The number one complication that occurs with a discectomy surgery will happen after the surgery and it will be months down the road. There is about a %10 chance that the disc operated on may very well become damaged in the same way again. If this happens you will end up starting at the beginning of the treatment cycle again. There is the possibility that if this happens you will find relief through conservative treatment methods failed you previously.
There are other discectomy complications that may arise during the surgery or your recovery from it. These complications include spinal fluid leaks, bleeding, and post op infection. These are usually easy to treat but may end up extending your hospital stay after surgery.