5 Common Types of Surgery After a Car Accident
No one sets out on the road anticipating that they will end up in a car accident, let alone one serious enough to require surgery. However, many car accidents result in severe injuries that require one or more surgical procedures. Five of the most common types of surgery after a car accident include treatment for a brain injury, broken bones, spinal cord or back injuries, internal bleeding, and soft tissue damage.
Car accident injuries that require surgery are not always immediate emergencies. Sometimes, your recovery doesn’t progress as planned. Doctors may recommend you see a specialist who recommends surgery. Read on to learn more about these five types of surgeries after a car accident and what the potential recovery for each looks like.
1. Brain or Head Car Accident Surgery
Head and brain injuries rank among the most severe outcomes of car accidents. In most cases, these injuries require immediate surgical intervention. The nature of the surgery depends on the extent and type of the head injury. For instance, surgeons may need to stop a brain bleed, which can be life-threatening.
Some brain injury symptoms might take days or weeks to develop, such as a subdural hematoma. A subdural hematoma could put pressure on the brain or spinal cord. Doctors might need to temporarily remove a piece of the skull to allow a swollen brain to expand without being compressed, a procedure known as a decompressive craniectomy.
Alternatively, a surgeon may need to repair fractures in the skull or drain accumulated cerebrospinal fluid. Following the surgery, patients may require physical and cognitive therapy to regain lost skills. Depending on the injury’s extent, the recovery process may last several months to a few years. Someone with a prior head injury, even a seemingly minor concussion, can suffer a more severe brain injury the next time around. This could result in a longer recovery period compared to another person with a similar head injury.
2. Broken or Fractured Bones
The impact of car accidents can often result in fractured or broken bones. Lower extremities, such as feet, ankles, and legs, are particularly susceptible. Orthopedic surgeons may need to set the broken bone and secure it with special screws or plates to facilitate healing. A severely damaged bone may require a bone graft or joint replacement in extreme cases. While these surgeries are common and have high success rates, the recovery period can be extensive, often involving physical therapy to regain strength and mobility.
3. Spinal Cord or Back Injuries
Spinal injuries can range from herniated discs and fractured vertebrae to severe spinal cord damage. The treatment plan and subsequent recovery depend largely on the injury’s severity and location. Also, some doctors may not recommend back surgery for months or even years—after less-invasive treatment options fail.
In a spinal fusion surgery, the surgeon joins two vertebrae together to improve stability, reduce pain, or correct a deformity. A laminectomy involves removing part of the vertebra to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves. Patients often require physical rehabilitation and pain management strategies following spinal surgery, with recovery times varying from a few months to a year or more.
Surgeries involving spinal cord injuries may or may not restore the person’s mobility. Many spinal cord injuries are permanent, resulting in permanent paralysis. Victims may require significant medical assistance and therapy for the remainder of their lives.
4. Surgery for Internal Organ Damage or Internal Bleeding
Injuries to internal organs such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys can be life-threatening, requiring prompt surgical intervention. Depending on the injury’s severity and location, surgeons may need to repair the damaged organ or stop internal bleeding. In extreme cases, the doctor might need to remove the organ entirely. Post-operative care focuses on managing pain, preventing infection, and gradually resuming normal activities. Full recovery can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months in most cases.
5. Soft Tissue Repair
Car accidents can cause significant damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments, especially in high-movement areas like the knee. Surgeons might repair torn ligaments using a graft, often taken from another part of the patient’s body. Alternatively, they may need to reattach a torn muscle or tendon. Following surgery, patients typically undergo physical therapy to restore strength and range of motion to the affected area.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer at Flint Cooper
Car accidents are traumatic, both physically and emotionally. The road to recovery can be a challenging one. However, you are not alone. Flint Cooper has a team of experienced lawyers ready to support you at every step, from negotiating with insurance companies to representing you in court. We aren’t afraid to stand up to insurance companies that want to offer lowball settlements. We’ll take your case to trial if that’s what is necessary for you to recover the compensation you are owed.
We’ve represented thousands of clients and have recovered millions of dollars on their behalf. Our goal is to help alleviate your worries so that you can focus on what truly matters—your recovery. Please contact us if you sustained injuries and require surgery after a car accident. Schedule a consultation and learn more about how our skilled team of lawyers can help.
About the author:
Greg is a personal injury attorney at Flint Cooper, a law firm specializing in complex litigation. Greg specializes in wrongful death, semi-truck accidents, automobile collisions, maritime claims, and many other areas of personal injury. He has extensive experience litigating claims in state and federal courts, as well as administrative agencies.