Up to 40 percent of patients who undergo traditional open-back surgery are victims of failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS)
The incidence of FBSS depends upon many factors, and occurs less in the cervical region (neck) than the lumbar region (lower back) of the spine. The risk of developing FBSS is also much lower after discectomy than following spinal fusion. After review of the studies published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the only scientifically defendable statement that can be made about the incidence of failed back surgery syndrome is that the less invasive the spinal surgery, the less likely that FBSS will result. To date, the least invasive spine surgery is minimally invasive spine surgery such as that performed at Laser Spine Institute to treat degenerative spine conditions.
What is FBSS?
FBSS is not actually a syndrome but a generalized term used to describe the condition of patients who have not had successful results with spine surgery to treat neck or back pain. Specifically, the term applies when spine surgery has not alleviated the problem or has created even greater problems, and when patients experience continuous pain after surgery.
Many factors can contribute to FBSS, including:
- Failure to adequately diagnose the condition(s)
- Failure to adequately treat the condition(s)
- Spinal fusion failure
- Surgery performed at the wrong level of the spine
- Creation of new spine conditions at another level after open-spine surgery (very common)
- Scar tissue formation
- Hardware insertion
- Missed fragment of disc or bone still pinching nerve
- Inadequate decompression of nerve root
- Nerve damage
Patients with FBSS may experience or develop:
- Continued/chronic pain
- New spine conditions
- Pain above or below the treated level of the spine
- Limited mobility
- Inability to recuperate
- Dull/aching pain in neck, back or legs
- Sharp/stabbing pain in extremities
- Joint immobility
- Dependence on prescription drugs
Solutions and treatment for failed back surgery syndrome
Since FBSS is not one specific spine condition, the symptoms and history of each patient need to be properly diagnosed in order to determine the best course of treatment. As a first step in the individual diagnostic process, Laser Spine Institute offers a complimentary review of your most recent MRI or CT scan. A member of our medical staff will contact you to discuss your symptoms and history.