Bucks County personal injury lawyer Michael L. Saile, Jr. notes that international headlines in July 2011 have brought spinal fusion surgery greater attention as former Philippine President Aroyo and Texas Governor Rick Perry each underwent spinal fusion surgery to address back pain. While spinal fusion surgery is considered for degenerative issues, our personal injury law experience has shown it is also a consideration for back injuries sustained in Philadelphia area auto accidents as well.
When and Why it Might be Time to Consider Surgery
Physical therapy and muscle relaxants can provide help with the back pain from your PA or NJ car accident, but if your back injury is severe, pain recurs frequently and becomes debilitating. You may also suffer neurological deficits from your back injury. In these cases, your treating doctor may recommend spinal fusion surgery. Most commonly spinal fusion surgery is done in the lumber portion (lower back) of the spine, though occasionally for cervical (neck) or thoracic area (between the neck and lower back). If successful, it fuses two pieces of the spine together.
In the case of accident injury, spinal fusion surgery is most often recommended when there is spinal disc herniation or a vertebral fracture. There are two main types of lumbar spinal fusion that your neurological surgeon might perform:
• postlateral fusion
• interbody fusion
Both require the use of either titanium or plastic rods or connectors. Your medical practitioner can explain whether one or both will be used in your case. In addition, you may need external back braces or orthotics (shoes or shoe inserts) in order to maintain the position of your spine and realize greater pain relief.
Benefits and Risks
If you or a loved one consistently experiences severe back and neck pain or neurological deficits following your Pennsylvania auto accident, and conservative treatment fails to reduce your accident injury pain, you may consider spinal fusion therapy. The use of spinal fusion surgery for your accident injury is somewhat controversial. This is because success with this therapy is never a guarantee. Aside from your own body’s ability to heal, external factors like smoking, certain medications, and heavy activity can prolong or prevent proper fusion. The spine does not always fuse correctly or completely. It can take 6-12 months, and if fusion does not occur, you may require reoperation. There are also very positive outcomes for individuals, and they are able to live their lives again, with far less pain. Only your surgeon can explain to you with specificity the risks and benefits this surgery may hold for you.
Thinking of Taking Legal Action?
The Bucks County personal injury lawyers at Cordisco & Saile LLC understand that you may need spinal fusion surgery to regain a lifestyle that is closer to normal. We are experienced in helping our clients obtain the compensation needed to recover from their Philadelphia accident injuries. If you or a loved on has been injured in a New Jersey or Pennsylvania accident, get our FREE PA Car Accident Guide for information about what to do next, who pays your medical bills, how to deal with the insurance company, and much more.