Surgery leaves scars. It is well known that as the body heals after surgery, it creates tissues that form over the wounds. While most people are aware of external scarring (like those that occur when you get big cuts on your skin), you can also scar internally as well. This internal scarring can occur in spine surgery and is a common cause of post-surgical back pain.
Scar Tissue Removal Spine Surgery
Even the most successful spine surgeries may result in the formation of scar tissue, and the presence of scar tissue itself is not necessarily indicative of pain. But when that scar tissue is extensive or is located near nerves and in areas that trigger pain, it’s possible for moderate to severe pain to develop. If that pain develops, it is termed “Epidural Fibrosis.”
Any pain after spine surgery is known as failed back surgery syndrome or FBSS. Any time a patient experiences FBSS, non-surgical management is the first course of action. But when the pain is too severe, conservative recovery is not possible, and it’s clear through detailed scans and proper analysis that tissue removal would reduce or eliminate pain, it may be necessary to undergo scar tissue removal surgery.
During this surgery, known as an “Adhesiolysis,” the surgeon performs a fairly specific set of procedures, although these may differ depending on whether it is the cervical or lumbar spine, the extent of the scar tissue, and other factors.
The procedure is:
- Minimally Invasive – Adhesiolysis does not require a large, open wound. Only a small incision is made, and the procedure is completed using small injections.
- General Anesthesia Free – Scar tissue removal surgery does not necessitate general anesthesia, although it may be necessary for select circumstances. It can be performed with mild sedation.
- Precise – Contrast dye is used to reach the affected area, X-rays guide the surgery, and there are tools, such as balloons, that ensure the surgeon can directly reach the affected area.
Scar tissue surgery is aimed at eliminating scar tissue ideally using medications, such as steroids, that are directly aimed at the tissues themselves. They also provide immediate pain relief and can be adapted to also improve nerve healing/regeneration if needed.
When is Scar Tissue Removal Right For You?
Scar tissue removal can be an effective way to eliminate pain caused by epidural fibrosis. But it is not ideal in all settings. It is critical that every tool is used to ensure that scar tissue is the cause of your back pain and that it is not some other, yet unknown factor.
Some surgeons only look for the presence of scar tissue when the patient suffers from FBSS. But since scar tissue is present with successful, pain-free surgeries, a proper diagnosis is critical. It is important to see a failed back surgery specialist, like Dr. James Chappuis, Dr. Petilon, and the team at Spine Center Atlanta, in order to determine if adhesiolysis is the right choice.
If you are interested in learning more about scar tissue removal, please call today at 404-351-5812. We assist those both in Atlanta and throughout the United States with second opinions, revision surgeries, diagnoses, and other services to reduce and eliminate back pain after surgery.