Complications of Treatments for Degenerative Lumbar Disk Disease in Children

Surgery

  • Standard complications of spine surgery: Surgical complications include failure to relieve symptoms, back pain, damage to nerve roots, CSF leak, infection, large blood loss, postoperative epidural/subdural hematoma, adjacent level disease, increased rate of degenerative disease at the operated levels, and reherniation of the disk. In children the risk of reoperation with prolonged follow-up has been reported up to 24% (7, 8, 26).
  • Long-term degeneration: In contrast to adult patients, many pediatric patients have 60–80 years of additional life expectancy. For this reason, adjacent level disease and accelerated degeneration are more important concepts in this age group. Minimizing tissue damage may decrease the risks of these complications.

Medical

  • Complications of NSAID and steroid use: Medical complications include gastrointestinal problems from NSAIDs or narcotics and wound healing problems from steroid use.