A sciatica surgeon is a doctor who is formally trained to perform invasive interventions for sciatic nerve pain relief. Sciatica surgery is still a very commonly exercised treatment option for patients with severe or chronic pain, although curative statistics are not at all promising. In general, back surgery has proven itself to be incredibly over-prescribed, often ineffective and diagnostically inappropriate for many patients.
I warn every sciatica sufferer
to read and consider this article carefully, since once you agree to
surgery, the damage to your spine could possibly become unfixable and
your pain may escalate to levels previously thought impossible.
Failed sciatica surgery: These words are a dire warning to all back pain sufferers who are contemplating a surgical fix for their pain.
In some cases, surgery is indeed appropriate and even necessary. However, these cases are rare and represent a small fraction of spinal operations which are performed every year. Most patients are convinced that surgery is the right option, or the only option, by care providers looking to score that big ticket sale, even though the statistics show that the procedure is unlikely to help provide a cure in the long-term outlook. Many sciatica patients do not enjoy any relief from a spinal procedure, while others instantly suffer a downturn in their conditions post-surgery.
Even many patients who do enjoy partial or total relief rarely enjoy enduring benefits, since most will either suffer a relapse of the original symptoms or a new symptomatic profile in another region of the spine within 7 years. The letters and emails you send me every day support these research statistics and are a constant reminder to me just how dangerous and risky spinal procedures can be.
If you are one of the few who must have surgery due to an extreme spinal issue, then you must become active in selecting your doctor personally. Do not just agree to surgery with the first doctor who sees you.
There are many options for surgical interventions and some can make the difference between a successful result and a life of constant misery. Most enlightened surgeons recommend to always go with the least invasive approach, since minimally invasive sciatica surgeries will do less damage to healthy tissues and aid in a faster and better recovery.
Above all else, be especially careful with any type of spinal fusion procedure. Time and time again, patients write to me years after a spinal fusion complaining how their surgeon never told them that fusion begets more fusions. That’s right. It is a fact.
Every spinal fusion puts inordinate and exponential stress on surrounding vertebral levels, causing increased degeneration of these tissues and often necessitating more fusion operations. It is not uncommon for an average patient to endure 3 or 4 procedures in a 20 year period, leading to complete loss of spinal mobility and functionality. Make sure you know the facts and accept these risks before even thinking about fusion.
Take your time and find a great surgeon. Be sure to account for all factors, including actual postoperative results, patient recommendations, bedside manner and approach to care offered. All the effort you put into the selection process will pay off if you can achieve a real and lasting cure.
For all you spinal surgeons out there who provide excellent and enlightened services, and reserve these services for patients who truly require them, congratulations on a job well done. You are the proverbial jewels in the medical crown. I just wish I could count your numbers higher.
In my own personal experience, and from patient letters, some surgeons use fear and intimidation to coerce patients onto the operating table for profit.
"Agree to surgery or...
You will become paralyzed.
You will lose control of your bladder and bowels."
These are all common predictions made illogically in many instances. These dire warnings can scare the life out of a patient, making them agree to virtually anything and then regretting their decision for life. My advice is to get several opinions before considering sciatica surgery. Make sure these opinions are objective and try to get at least one from a non-surgeon. This way, you will stack the odds in your favor and may be able to avoid surgery altogether.