First let me say, I am not a surgeon. However, I am a nationally certified surgical first assistant with approximately 30 years of surgical experience and I work directly with a group of Spine specialist in a fast paced outpatient surgical facility. It is pretty amazing to see the types of surgeries that are performed on a consistent basis.
It seems that now more and more people are developing serious back problems from being overweight and from degenerative spinal disease. The type of procedures has graduated from simple lumbar diskectomy to multilevel spinal fusion. In almost all postoperative follow-ups of spinal fusions the patient receives no relief from pain.
This is because the human body is not designed, particularly the spine, to be immobilized. The spine is designed to absorb shock and twist and turn in a normal fashion. The prognosis for the patient is more multilevel spinal fusions. This procedure it is a very popular one with orthopedic surgeons and neurological surgeons. It has become the norm for spinal procedures and for relieving back pain.
After witnessing and being a part of this for over twenty years, I have come to recognize that this is a fad. Just as it was popular in the 50s 60s and 70s to immobilize a patient’s leg after ligament repair, the immobilization of a patient’s spine has become popular and lucrative.
In the 70s and 80s the treatment of choice for lower pelvic pain in a female was a total abdominal hysterectomy. This was later found out to be the incorrect surgical procedure for the given problem. I believe history will repeat itself after years of studies show that spinal fusion was and is not the answer to back pain.