Spinal Surgery

Lebson Tangredi PLLC has been representing plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases for over 50 years. It is important that you only retain a law firm with extensive experience in medical malpractice and in the field of spinal surgery.

Did you know that most personal injury law firms do not specialize in medical malpractice cases, so they refer their medical malpractice cases to us.

Additionally, many of our clients are recommended to Lebson Tangredi PLLC by medical malpractice defense attorneys who have first-hand experience in the professional manner in which we represent and fight for our clients to obtain the highest recovery possible.

The most common spinal surgery cases are:


The spine has many nerves running through it.  If those nerves are “compressed” for a long enough period of time, they will be either partially damaged or permanently useless rendering the patient disabled.  

It is imperative that any patient who has severe back pain caused by nerve compression be immediately evaluated by a specialist to determine if the patient requires immediate surgery.  “Time equals tissue”.  This means the longer a nerve is “compressed” or “strangled” the greater the chance the nerve will die, and the patient will be permanently injured.


Cauda Equina Syndrome is a frequent type of case where there is a delay in timely performing spinal surgery at the area of the spinal cord called the Cauda Equina.

The “Cauda Equina” is the area of the spinal cord that usually begins around L-1 area in the lower back.  Cauda Equina means horse’s tail because this is what the cord looks like when it reaches the lumbar area of our spine.  

Cauda Equine Syndrome is caused when a spinal disc, collection of blood or fluid, or a fragment of bone compresses the “Cauda Equina”.  If the compression is not timely removed by surgery the patient can be left with cauda equina syndrome.  Some of the devastating injuries caused by Cauda Equina syndrome are constant pain, the inability to walk, the necessity for a wheelchair or cane, the inability to control bowel and or urine function, sexual dysfunction, and many other debilitating conditions.  

Many of our clients who suffer from Cauda Equina Syndrome have informed us that they were told:

  • Your Cauda Equina Syndrome was unavoidable (it almost always is avoidable)
  • Medicine is not an exact science
  • You will get better over time (and then the statute of limitations runs out)
  • Just because you had a bad result doesn’t mean there was malpractice
  • You don’t have Cauda Equina Syndrome

Do not be swayed by these types of explanations.  Have an attorney review your case to be sure you were not the victim of medical malpractice.

If you suffer from Cauda Equina Syndrome, it is important that you contact an experienced, specialized medical malpractice attorney who knows how to bring these types of lawsuits and obtain the highest result possible for you.  


Negligent surgery at the wrong spinal level happens more often than most people think.  In fact, 68% of spinal surgeons have admitted to performing surgery at the wrong level at some point in their career!

Spinal surgeons will operate at the wrong level if they do not properly “count” to the correct spinal level.  Put simply, in determining which level to perform surgery spinal surgeons will count either from the top or bottom of your spine to arrive at the proper level.

The most common reasons spinal surgery is done at the wrong level are because:

  • Poor X-rays are taken during the surgery preventing adequate visualization of the spinal levels leading to an improper count.
  • Spinal surgeons will rely upon pre-operative radiological studies that are different than intra-operative studies, causing counting confusion as to the proper level.  
  • Surgeons place a “marker” where the surgery is to take place.  Sometimes the marker will be too faint or will move before the surgery begins causing surgery at the wrong level.
  • Sometimes the marker is improperly placed at the wrong location causing surgery at the wrong level.
  • Every patient does not have the same exact spine.  Sometimes surgeons will fail to realize that the patient has a “spinal variant” causing them to count and mark the wrong level of the spine.  

Making matters worse, a spinal surgeon will never tell you that he or she operated at the wrong level.  Instead, they will give you various excuses as to why you are still in pain such as:

  • “Surgery does not always help”
  • “I did everything I could”
  • “You have many different problems in your spine, so it is not my fault you are still in pain”
  • “You have an abnormal spine”

Most patients who have had spinal surgery at the wrong level never even know. In fact, often times the doctor does not even realize that they performed surgery at the wrong level.

Typically, patients only learn that they have had surgery at the wrong level because another doctor tells them, or the patient sees an attorney who lets them know.

If you have undergone failed spinal surgery, speak with one of our attorneys at Lebson Tangredi PLLC and we will determine if your surgery was performed at the right level and if the proper procedure was performed.


Unfortunately, due to normal aging or due to trauma, many people will experience back pain.

In order to relieve back pain, Spinal Surgeons will perform “DECOMPRESSION” surgery to take the “compression” off the nerves in your spine.  Oftentimes the surgeon will also perform a “SPINAL FUSION” to keep your spine stable after “DECOMPRESSION”.

The most common types of Decompression are:


One of the most common causes of back pain is due to bulging or herniation of a “disc”.  We all have spinal discs between our bones in our spines.  These discs act as shock absorbers for the spine and allow us to move freely.  If those discs begin to “bulge” or “herniate” from their usual location they can compress the nerves in your spine causing excruciating pain.   

When a surgeon removes one of those discs it is called a “discectomy”.  By removing the disc, the surgeon takes the compression off the spinal nerve.  This is often done as part of decompression surgery.


The lamina are part of the vertebrae in your back that protect the spinal cord.  During a laminectomy a surgeon will remove abnormal bone growth of the lamina which occurs with normal aging. By removing a piece of the lamina, the surgeon enlarges the spinal canal to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. A laminectomy is often done as part of a decompression surgery.


The nerves in your spine exit the spinal column through a small opening called the foramen.  The foramen are located between your spinal vertebrae.

Sometimes these foraminal openings become tight due to the normal bony growth process of aging (degenerative arthritis) or due to trauma.  This can cause compression on the nerves passing through the foramen causing pain, tingling in the arms and legs, and weakness. 

A spinal surgeon will perform a foraminotomy to widen the space in the foramen to allow the nerve to pass and remove the compression on the nerve. 

Discectomy, Foraminotomy, and Laminectomy are all part of what is known as SPINAL DECOMPRESSION SURGERY.  These methods of decompression relieve the pressure on the nerve to give patients relief.


After performing decompression of your spinal nerves, many times SPINAL FUSION SURGERY will be performed to stabilize your spine.

Spinal fusion stabilizes the spine using metal plates, screws, and rods to “fuse” your vertebrae together so they heal into one solid unit. During fusion, the surgeon will also perform bone-grafting which involves using bone, or bone-like material, between your vertebrae to accelerate bone growth and fusion. 

Unfortunately, during the course of decompression surgery, you can suffer many different types of injury due to Medical Malpractice including:

  • Inadvertent trauma to the spinal cord
  • Surgery at the wrong level
  • Failing to stabilize the spine properly.  This can involve failing to place the hardware at the proper levels, failing to insert the proper type of hardware, and failing to perform the proper decompression surgery.  
  • Failure to actually perform the surgery that was supposed to be performed.  (Yes, this is true!  We have had cases where doctors have performed surgery at the wrong level, did not perform the surgery they claimed they performed in the operative report, and have failed to insert the hardware they were supposed to place).