Should I Get a Second Opinion Before Back Surgery?

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Back surgery is not a small decision. It is a major surgery with risks and complications. Before you undergo back surgery, you should get a second opinion to be sure that it is the best treatment option for you. Virtual second opinions are an ideal option for those with back pain or back injuries, as they can be done from the comfort of your own home.

Types of Back Surgeries

The type of back surgery that is recommended will depend on the condition being treated. The most common types of back surgeries include:

  • Discectomy: A discectomy is a surgery to remove a herniated disc. This type of surgery is usually performed when other treatments, such as physical therapy and pain medication, have not worked.
  • Laminectomy: A laminectomy is a surgery to remove a portion of the vertebrae, called the lamina. This type of surgery is usually performed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
  • Spinal fusion: A spinal fusion is a surgery to fuse two or more vertebrae together. This type of surgery is usually performed to stabilize the spine and relieve pain.

Complications of Back Surgery

There are risks and complications associated with any surgery, including back surgery. The most common complications of back surgery include:

  • Infection: An infection can occur at the incision site or in the surgical area. Infections are more common in people who smoke or have diabetes.
  • Blood clots: Blood clots can form in the legs or lungs. People who are overweight, smoke, or have diabetes are at a higher risk for developing blood clots.
  • Nerve damage: Nerve damage can occur during surgery. This can cause numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms or legs.
  • Failure to relieve pain: Despite the success of the surgery, some people may still experience pain.
  • Additional surgeries: Additional surgeries may be required if the first surgery does not relieve the pain or if there are complications.

How a Second Opinion Can Lead to Better Outcomes

Back surgery is time-intensive, expensive, and carries risks. You want to be confident that this is the best treatment option for you before proceeding. A second opinion can give you peace of mind and help you make the best decision for your health.

How can a second opinion lead to better outcomes? If there is an aspect of your condition that was not initially diagnosed, a second opinion can catch it. This could lead to a different treatment plan that is more effective. If the initial diagnosis was incorrect, a second opinion can catch that as well. This could lead to a less invasive surgery with a shorter recovery time.

A second opinion can also help you understand your options and make an informed decision about your treatment. You may feel more confident proceeding with surgery if you have a better understanding of the risks and benefits.

Getting a second opinion is especially important if you are considering a non-traditional treatment, such as spinal fusion surgery. This type of surgery is usually only recommended when other treatments have failed. You want to be sure that all other options have been exhausted before undergoing this major surgery.

Virtual Second Opinions on Back Surgery from The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic

No travel time, or travel costs needed—just the convenience of getting an expert opinion from the comfort of your own home.

The Clinic by Cleveland Clinic offers virtual second opinions on back surgery. We match each patient with one of Cleveland Clinic’s 3,500 specialists in more than 550 subspecialties.

You’ll receive recommendations you can trust from a specialist who has expertise in treating your specific condition. The peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ve made the best decision possible for your health is priceless.

Register online today to get started.