The Many Pitfalls of Open Back Surgery

When considering treatment options for back pain, open back surgery may come to mind as a seemingly definitive solution. While it’s true that surgical intervention can sometimes provide significant relief, it’s crucial to understand the associated drawbacks. Below are some key pitfalls to consider:


open back surgery
  • Open back surgery requires large incisions, muscle dissection, and the removal or alteration of bone. This invasive nature often leads to more pain and longer recovery times.

Risk of Infection

  • Any surgery exposes you to the risk of infection. However, given the large surgical area and exposure of internal structures, open back surgery increases the likelihood of postoperative infections.

Long Hospital Stay

  • Open surgeries usually require extended hospital stays, which not only can be costly but also expose you to additional health risks like hospital-acquired infections.

Extended Recovery Period

  • Recovery from open back surgery is often lengthy and grueling. Patients may be limited in mobility for weeks or even months, requiring physical therapy to regain function and strength.

Cost Factor

  • Open back surgery is among the more expensive medical procedures. The high costs include not just the surgery itself but also hospital stays, anesthesia, and postoperative care.

Possible Nerve Damage

  • The operation involves manipulating or altering structures close to the spinal cord. This increases the risk of accidental nerve damage, which could result in numbness, tingling, or even paralysis.

Limited Success Rate

  • Lastly, it’s crucial to note that open back surgery does not guarantee complete relief from back pain. Some patients continue to experience chronic pain even after the surgery, necessitating additional treatments.

With all of this in mind, it’s often best to opt for minimally invasive back surgery. 

Virginia Spine Specialists is an award-winning, minimally invasive spinal care practice with locations in Fredericksburg, VA and Manassas, VA. We also serve these Northern and Central Virginia locations: Haymarket, Gainesville, Culpepper, Front Royal, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Colonial Beach, Tappahannock and Lake Anna.