What is Revision Spine Surgery?
Revision spinal surgery refers to any type of surgical procedure, in which a spine surgeon will provide surgical correction for an earlier spinal surgery, that may have failed in some capacity.
Spine surgery itself, is a quite complex process, as the spine is by far one of the most sensitive areas of the body. The spine acts as the center for a number of bodily processes associated with sustaining life, housing the central nervous system, as well as an intricate network of nerve signals – vital to our everyday movements and our brain’s communication will any and all body parts.
Therefore, when a surgeon makes any type of mistake or performs poorly, it can lead to a variety of complications, from moderate damage like disc ruptures, deformities, and the slight nerve compression, to more severe instances, that can even lead to temporary or permanent paralysis.
Factors of Revision Surgery
Revision spinal surgery is a highly individualized process, and the specific needs of each procedure, will differ greatly from patient to patient. Some factors that determine what type of revision is necessary include:
- The patient’s initial spine issue or concern (the reason for the prior procedure).
- What type of surgery or procedure was performed prior?
- If any spinal instrumentation (rods, screws, plates, etc.) was used.
- What kind of complications have arisen and how severe they might be?
Why Do You Need Revision Surgery?
Often times, as a result of a failed or poorly performed spine surgery, patients are left with life-altering damage and chronic pain symptoms. The main goal of Revision Spinal Surgery is the reduction of both acute and chronic pain, and to provide patients with a better quality of life – free of the complications the failed procedure might have caused.
In the very mildest of circumstances, the prior surgery has simply failed, and the patient is only experiencing the issues associated with their initial condition. However, more commonly, a failed or poorly executed spine surgery can lead to a number of complications, these include:
- The formation of scar tissue around the point of prior incision.
- Surgery performed upon the incorrect area of the spine (ie. the incorrect spinal disc)
- Incorrect Diagnosis
- Pre/Post-surgical Complications
- Unsuccessful Spinal Correction
- Spinal instability
These complications are often indicative of a greater condition. The most common conditions for which revision surgery might be needed are:
- Failed Back Syndrome: Persistent back pain, even after surgery.
- Re-Herniation of a Disc
- Bacterial/Viral Infections during initial surgery.
- Pseudarthrosis: Poorly healed bone tissue following surgery (ie. Spinal Fusion)
- Spine/Disc Degeneration
- Failure of Spinal Hardware
- Flat Back Syndrome: A condition in which the lower spine loses some of its normal curvature.
Revision Spinal Fusion
One of the most common spine procedures is spinal fusion. Despite being the most commonly performed, these types of procedures are also the most commonly revised – as they have a tendency to fail at times.
Fusion failure can be a product of any number of issues such as a lack of bone fusion, hardware malfunction, or even a product of conditions such as spinal stenosis or spinal instability at discs above or below the point of fusion.
Spinal Fusion Revision involves the implantation of new bone being grafted in the affected area. In some cases, a bone growth stimulator may need to be used as well. Any instrumentation that was used (that may have failed) in prior spinal fusion may need to be removed, in order to make room for the addition of a new graft. For more information on this procedure, other spinal procedure, or to schedule a consultation, contact Dr. Arutyunyan today.