Complex Spine Surgery in Warren, NJ
Complex spine surgery is a lengthy surgery—taking at least six hours but sometimes stretched out over two days—that requires the reconstruction of a large section of the spine and typically involves fusion of at least six spinal vertebrae.
Surgery of this nature is usually only attempted when there has been a major spinal injury or severe curvature or deformity. Most people are familiar with the term spinal fusion. Complex spine surgery most of the time involves doing multiple spinal fusions in one surgical procedure.
To schedule a consultation with a qualified surgeon in Warren that specializes in complex spinal reconstruction surgery, call (908) 822-9282 or contact Dr. Kevin McCracken online.
Conditions Treated with Complex Spine Surgery
Complex spine surgery is usually indicated only for severe conditions, including:
- Major spinal trauma and injury
- Tumors on the spine
Severe spinal deformities or curvature due to the disease processes associated with conditions like:
- Scheuermann’s disease
What to Expect from Complex Spine Surgery
In complex spine surgery, an incision is made down the length of the back to access the spine. As in a normal spinal fusion surgery, the lamina is removed so the surgeon can reach into the spine. Bones may be cut and realigned and bone grafts are placed between the vertebra being repaired, so that fusion will occur as the spine heals following surgery.
The vertebrae are permanently fastened together with screws, bolts and rods made from titanium, but it is not the hardware, but rather the fusion of the bone with the bone graft that allows the spinal fusion into solid bone. Before surgery can be completed, your surgeons will take a series of x-rays to ensure the proper alignment of your spine has been achieved. Once proper alignment is confirmed, the incision will be closed with surgical staples. The staples are removed 1 to 2 weeks post-surgery, depending on your rate of healing, but the titanium hardware—the screws, bolts and rods—are permanent fixtures in your spine.
You will be in intensive care immediately following surgery and your total time in the hospital will range from 5-14 days. You will be equipped with a back brace which you will wear for several months. You can expect the pain to peak 2-3 days after surgery, and you will need to be on IV pain medication in the hospital and continue on pain medication for an extended period of time. After surgery, rehabilitation will consist of working one-on-one with pain management specialists, as well as physical, occupational and speech therapists.
Because your spine will essentially become one long bone—as opposed to a series of joints—movement and involvement in former sports and activities may be awkward. Some activities may no longer be possible at all.
Who is a Good Candidate for Complex Spine Surgery
Patients with sagittal imbalance, the most common trigger of back pain, are optimal candidates for complex spine surgery. In patients who have chronic back pain that persists after surgery, sagittal imbalance is often the culprit, and with complex spine surgery, it can potentially be corrected.
Increasingly, healthcare providers are looking at trends in healthcare reform that maximize the effectiveness of costly and difficult procedures like complex spine surgery. Because of the arduous and lengthy healing process—from three to six months after surgery—optimizing your strength and health is essential prior to surgery. For this reason, if you are already at an advanced age with issues like osteoporosis at play, measures other than complex spine surgery may be more appropriate. Successful candidates must be physically, mentally and emotionally capable to endure a lengthy, complicated procedure, as well as the recovery process. Medical history is an important determinant, as is bone quality.
Even with younger candidates, it is important to be at a healthy weight with strong core muscle strength so that you can handle recovery after complex spinal reconstruction surgery. It may take as long as a year for the bone fusions to completely heal. If you smoke, it is necessary for you to stop smoking, as nicotine can impede the bone fusion and compromise immunity.
Complex Spine Surgery Risks
Surgery by nature involves a risk of developing complications. With complex spine surgery potential risks include:
- Wound infection
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Pulmonary embolism
- Infections like urinary tract infections that can lead to whole body sepsis
In order to avoid these complications, it is important to educate yourself about complex spine surgery and everything you need to know to ensure proper healing and overall surgery success.
Optimize the Health of Your Spine
As ongoing support for your overall spinal health, your healthcare provider may recommend lifestyle changes to help preserve and optimize your spinal function. Request more information about the complex spinal reconstruction surgery in Warren today. Call (908) 822-9282 or contact Dr. Kevin McCracken online.
Orthopaedic and Spine Center of NJ
Address45 Mountain Blvd
Bldg D Ste 2
Warren, NJ 07059
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm