What are possible complications after spine surgery?

Although postoperative complications after spine surgery are a rare occurrence, experts believe that education and compliance is the key to prevention.

Blood clots, also known as DVTs, are a potential complication with any surgery. Blood clots can be caused by prolonged bed rest or inactivity. Blood that is moving is less likely to clot, so to prevent blood clots it is important to do the following:

  • Take your anti-coagulant while in the hospital as ordered.
  • Keep the sequential compression devices on your legs while you are lying in bed.
  • Participate in physical therapy.

The signs and symptoms of a DVT may include the following:

  • pain in the back of your calf that comes and goes
  • a dull ache in the calf when walking
  • a calf that is warm to the touch and reddened

If you feel you are experiencing any of these symptoms, tell someone in your healthcare team right away.

Remember to call for assistance prior to attempting to get out of bed. You will still be attached to many things such as your intravenous (IV) line and sequential compression devices (SCDs). You may be taking pain medications that may put you at risk for falling. Avoid bending. If you drop something, call for help as well.

Possible complications of spine surgery include infection, increased paralysis and numbness.

Bleeding, infection and neurological injuries are complications associated with spine surgery.

Although extremely rare, bleeding, infection and damage of the nerves are possible complications following spine surgery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.