The number of operations on the spine has grown drastically over the last few years – and the tendency is still upwards. Compared to other European countries, Germany is even in the forefront.

The operations on blocked and stiffened spine components alone have risen by 43 per cent since 2007. An alarming development, because an operation should always be the last option. This is the maxim of Prof. Dr. med. Michael Akbar.

What are the reasons for this development? This increase cannot be simply attributed to there being a greater incidence of diseases. Often the decision to operate is taken too quickly – perhaps because sufferers are too impatient, but also because in our health system it is economically more lucrative. Statistics however reward a philosophy of “wait and see”: In 80 per cent of cases the problems disappear again after two months. Because the body often knows better than we think how to help itself. We simply have to give it time.

A further reason for the increase in operation numbers is the development of multiple minimally invasiver methods. But some doctors apply these techniques without having truly mastered them. The high risks of wrongly conducted operations, feelings of numbness up to paraplegia, are often not taken into account, and it is not unusual for revision surgery to take place to correct operative errors. Things will not go to those lengths if the people affected turn to experienced experts and exercise their right to a second opinion.