A new report in PsycCentral states that one in five patients who undergo spinal cord surgery will develop post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD has been linked to other medical procedures, such as cancer treatment and organ transplant surgery. But this is the first time a link has been made between PTSD and back surgery.
Dr. Robert Hart, an orthopedic surgeon, professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation, and senior author of the study states,“It is maybe not surprising that significant surgical interventions have psychological as well as physical impacts,” he said. “I think it means that we in the medical community need to monitor for these effects in our patients and to manage them when they occur.”
Factors that contribute to developing PTSD after surgery include pre-surgical diagnoses of depression or anxiety disorder.
The study included 73 patients who underwent lumbar spinal fusion. Dr. Hart reports that he hopes his findings help the medical community make changes in the way they prepare patients for surgery.
Dr. Hart’s report is added to the growing evidence that demonstrates that medical procedures are linked to post-traumatic stress disorder in adults, as well as children.