They say that hindsight is 20-20. Well, after four spinal surgeries, I'm not very happy with that formula. If I could have predicted what would happen to me, I would never have gone through with the first surgery. I had a spinal fusion at L45 and then promptly got a MRSA infection at the incision. It took three more surgeries to clean it up.
Every surgery comes with its own set of risks and possible problems. The surgeon and all the staff do everything possible to prevent such things as infections, but it can still happen. And the presence of MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) heads the list of potential risk factors for surgical site infection following spinal surgery. Your quote about hindsight being accurate is quite true for many things. To use another common expression, "the best defense is a good offense." Generally the idea is that offensive action preoccupies the opposition and ultimately its ability to directly harm. In the world of surgery, reducing the risk of infection is the number one defense AND offense. Studies have been able to show which patients are at risk for surgical site infection after spinal surgery. And now there is new evidence to help surgeons identify who might be at increased risk for multiple clean up procedures (called irrigation and debridement). There's even a scoring system surgeons can use to determine at the first diagnosis of surgical site infection who is likely to need a series of wound debridement procedures. With that information, the surgeon can set up counter measures to prevent this from happening whenever possible. The end result is reduced hospitalization and costs and increased patient satisfaction with less need for that hindsight you mentioned.