I had a complex back surgery and ended up with headaches, back, and leg pain. The surgeon told me there's a tear in the dural sac called a durotomy. I've been advised to have another operation to repair the problem. What will happen if I don't do it?

A recent study of long-term outcomes after durotomies has been reported. Patients were followed for up to 10 years. The results of their surgeries were compared to an equal number of patients who didn't have a dural tear.

The overall outcome was poor for those patients with the durotomy. They had all the same symptoms you're reporting. They were limited in their daily activities. Some had to change jobs or even retire early because the pain kept them from doing functional activities.

There's no question from a medical point of view that the operation is required if there's a leak of the cerebrospinal fluid. However you may or may not have relief of your symptoms.