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Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Failed back syndrome (FBS) is a condition characterized by persistent pain, following back surgeries.  FBS is sometimes referred to as post-laminectomy syndrome since it usually appears after a laminectomy surgery.

What Causes Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

There are a variety of reasons that cause failed back surgery syndrome to occur.

Smoking can be a contributor because it interferes with the healing process.

Other causes may include:

  • Failed fusion
  • Recurring disc protrusion
  • Scar tissue formation
  • Spinal disc herniation which reoccurs subsequent to surgery
  • Persistent, altered joint flexibility or joint instability
  • Continued pressure from spinal stenosis
  • Instability or abnormal movement
  • Arachnoiditis, which is nerve damage within the nerve
Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Often, a patient will complain of chronic postoperative pain in the surgical area of the back, (or the neck) and many times, radiating down the leg or arm. Pain descriptions can include dull, stabbing or sharp ongoing pain.  Aching and tingling sensations have also been reported.

The MISI Approach to Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Depending on the affected area, failed back syndrome can be treated in a variety of ways.  First, it is important to be properly diagnosed by a specialist.  Our physician will review the treatment history, particularly the type of surgery done and for what reason.  Particular attention is paid to the result of the surgery and how the patient’s symptoms have evolved following surgery.   A physical exam will be done.  X-rays, MRI and computed tomography (CT) may be ordered.  Once diagnosed accurately, a specialist may treat the pain with:

  • Physical therapy
  • Low force specific chiropractic care
  • Spinal Cord Stimulator
  • Medications,
  • Membrane stabilizers
  • Antidepressants
  • Intrathecal morphine pump
  • Facet joint or sacroiliac joint rhizotomy
  • Corrective revision surgery

Contact Us

If you are suffering from failed back syndrome, schedule a consult with our spine specialists to determine your treatment options.