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Could spinal cord stimulation be used to mask surgical mistakes?

Since its approval by the Food and Drug Administration in 1989, spinal cord stimulation has become an important measure in treating chronic back pain, especially if other methods have not generated success. The treatment involves neurostimulation of the area where the source of pain is found. In essence, an electrical current is sent to the area, which creates a pleasant sensation and blocks the brain’s ability to sense the previous pain.

While neurostimulation can be used to treat a number of ailments, one of the primary reasons is to alleviate complications stemming from failed back surgeries. Perhaps the most common reason for failed back surgeries is that the area that was operated on is not necessarily the source of the patient’s pain. This may result in an improper procedure being performed. For example, a discectomy performed for leg pain may be proper and predictable, but a similar procedure to correct a lower back problem may not be. 

Regardless of the procedure, a physician must use reasonable care in determining what should be done to correct a back issue. This means that a doctor must act as a doctor with similar experience and expertise would do in the same instance, or must follow established standards for treating a particular condition. If the physician fails to do so, and a patient is harmed as a result, the doctor could be held liable.

If you are experiencing complications after a back procedure and wonder what your legal rights are, a conversation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help. 

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