There are many different types of surgical procedures which are complicated and can cause serious injury if not done right. One such procedure is a spinal fusion surgery, which can cause many different type of injuries if done improperly. These injuries can be to bone, muscle, or nerves.
Understanding this procedure requires a basic understanding of the anatomy. Generally speaking, the spinal cord runs up and down the back and into the brain. The vertebrae are the bones comprising the spinal column which protect the spinal cord which is in the middle. In between each vertebra is a disc which acts as a shock absorber. From in between the vertebra and this disc, there are nerves which come out of the spinal cord, through the boney structures, and out into the body.
A spinal fusion is where several vertebrae are fused together to prevent them from moving or flexing. This is to prevent further injury or pain from damage to the bones, discs, or the nerves. This is caused by the flexion of the spine which can push on the nerves radiating out of the spinal cord. Thus, the spinal fusion removes the disc, fuses the bones to keep them from moving, and helps the nerves radiating out of the spine to not be impinged by damaged vertebra or discs.
As you may appreciate, there can be very significant injuries in spinal fusion medical malpractice cases. These injuries include the following:
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Spinal cord severing;
- Nerve damage;
- Bone damage;
- Disc injuries;
- Bone infections;
- Improper fusions;
- Wrong level or wrong site fusions;
- Unnecessary fusions (done before needed);
- Tendon injures;
- Muscle damage or injuries;
- Ligament injuries;
- Wrongful death; and
- Other types of similar injuries.
Additionally, a spinal fusion can take a long time to perform. Because of this, if a patient is improperly positioned on the surgical table, he or she can get other injuries from positioning. For instance, if the patient is placed in a position which stretches or puts pressure on the arm or shoulder, it can cause damage to the nerves in the arm. This is also medical malpractice.
Furthermore, as with any surgery, there can be anesthesia reactions or errors which can further cause very serious personal injuries. Anesthesia errors are very dangerous and can easily cause permanent and debilitating conditions.
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