Spine Surgery? Sometimes, it is better to wait.

Spine Surgery? Sometimes, it is better to wait.

Spine Surgery? Sometimes, it is better to wait.

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If you have a serious life or limb threatening condition,  you need to trust your physicians and get spine surgery if that is their recommendation.

If you have a serious life or limb threatening condition,  I hope you are not reading this blog,  and instead getting medical care NOW.

For the rest of you,  please understand that a serious life or limb threatening condition means you can do great harm by waiting.  Those situations include heart related pain,  breathing difficulties infections,  cancer, and broken bones.  As a Spine Surgeon,  it means conditions that can cause impending paralysis,  or irreversible nerve damage.  Fortunately,  those conditions are very rare,  and most of you have time to make the decision for surgery,  as long as you can tolerate the pain.

The difficult concept for most people  to understand,  is SEVERE PAIN in isolation,  may NOT BE A LIFE or LIMB THREATENING CONDITION.  It just feels like one.    That is why you need to see a trusted physician to determine if your pain is something that can be managed without spine surgery.  For the non life or limb threatening pains,  often times it improves, and become tolerable.  If the pain persists,  you can then have an educated informed discussion with your Surgeon to decide if the risks or surgery will be worth the benefit,  Unfortunately,  during this discussion about the pro’s and con’s of surgery,  Surgeons and Patients may have different understanding of the goals.  While specific conditions are amenable to excellent results,  others are less predictable in the outcome.  Patient expectations must be realistic.   For our more senior population,  often times the condition is caused by a  diffuse aging process,  and while surgery may improve one aspect of the complaint,  it may not correct all the other problems.

While you are waiting to make the decision for spine surgery,  many people find themselves improving.  As a Spine Specialist,  I know that many disk herniations to both the neck and the back improve,  shrink in size,  and become asymptomatic.

If you review scientific research,  we know that many patients who are told they would need surgery to improve pain often improve without it.

If you have concerns about your surgical recommendation,  and do not have a life or limb threatening condition,  it is perfectly fine to wait.

On the other hand,  if you have decided to move forward with surgery,  have a positive attitude,  and do not second guess your decision.  Optimism also helps.

 

Citations

  • Malinowski K. [Immobilize the person after injury - problems in the practice of the rescuer]. Wiad Lek. 2016;69(2 Pt 2):267-70. PubMed PMID: 27487546

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Author and Contributor to www.Spine-Health.com – July, 2015

www.Spine-Health.com/author/john-h-shim-md-facs

Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

Board Member Morton Plant Mease Research Council

Co-Director of Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.

One of “6 Spine Physicians Ranked #1 on Google” – December 2016

Top Ten Most Liked Spine Surgeons on the Internet – July 2016

2016 Spine Surgeons to Know list – January 2016

2014 Spine Specialists to know list – September 2014

One of Ten Leaders of Certified Spine Programs – December 2011

 

The Best Orthopedics in Tampa

The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
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