Back pain is one of the most common health problems in the United States. Experts have reported that back pain will affect most people at some point during their life. While it can affect anyone at any time, back pain often affects people between the ages of 40 to 80 years old.
Back pain is often related to the aging process and the risk of experiencing low-back pain from disc disease or degeneration generally increases with age. However, a back pain problem can be caused by an accident, sudden activity, or exercise.
Regardless of its cause, back pain can be excruciatingly painful. Symptoms can include:
- muscle aches;
- shooting or stabbing pain;
- limited flexibility or range of motion;
- inability to stand up straight; and
- radiating pain that goes down the leg or legs.
Back Pain May Be Serious Enough To Require Surgery
Sometimes back pain becomes so severe that an individual requires or elects to have surgery to try to correct the underlying problem and obtain relief from the back pain.
For example, those who follow golf news may have heard that Steve Stricker, the former world number 2 golf professional, recently underwent back surgery to “relieve issues stemming from acute and chronic L5 radiculopathy.” According to Golf Channel, the 47-year-old golfer had been experiencing pain in his hip and quadriceps due to a bulging disc. Mr. Stricker’s surgery reportedly went well and he is expecting to return to practice after a rest and rehabilitation period.
For individuals who require an operation or surgical procedure, there are three main types of back surgery being performed in the United States. They include:
- Discectomy– a discectomy involves the removal of the herniated portion of the disk. It usually involves the removal of all or part of the back portion of the vertebra (lamina) closest to the damaged disk in order to access the disk itself.
- Laminectomy– a laminectomy involves the removal of the vertebral bone (lamina) to create space and relieve nerve pressure caused by spinal stenosis.
- Spinal Fusion– spinal fusion is a major surgery where bone from the hip or other source is used to permanently connect two or more bones in the spine in order to add structural stability to the spinal column. Spinal fusion is the most common spinal surgery performed in the United States, with about 87 percent of spinal procedures performed in 2013 being fusion-based surgeries.
Informed Consent And Back Surgery Complications
Most patients understand that there are risks involved with any surgery. However, an individual has the right to determine whether he or she wants to be subjected to these treatment risks. Because of this, the law requires that a physician or surgeon explain the risks in order to obtain a patient’s informed consent before treating or operating on the patient.
Informed consent means that the doctor has a duty to explain, in terms that the patient can understand, what the doctor intends to do before treating or operating on the patient. In order to obtain a patient’s informed consent, the surgeon must tell the patient about the alternatives to the recommended procedure or treatment. It also requires that the doctor tell the patient about the medically reasonable alternatives that are not being recommended, as well as the risks and possible outcomes of the alternatives.
With back surgeries, some possible spinal procedure complications include:
- anesthesia complications;
- deep venous thrombosis (DVT);
- lung problems;
- hardware failure;
- implant migration;
- spinal cord injury;
- persistent pain; and
- sexual dysfunction.
Tallahassee Legal Help For Back Surgery Medical Malpractice
Florida law provides that if an individual suffers injury because of the negligence of health care provider, the patient may have a claim for medical malpractice. If you have questions about your legal rights to recover for a medical treatment error or surgical bad outcome, please contact the experience Tallahassee medical malpractice lawyers at Fasig & Brooks at (850) 222-3232 or use our convenient online contact form.