Failed lumbar fusion

Failed lumbar fusion is a relatively common occurrence for patients who choose a traditional open back fusion.

This type of spine surgery requires a highly invasive, large incision in the lower back, tearing through the supporting muscles next to the spine. These muscles help support the weight of the body so the spine is not responsible for the entire burden. They also help keep the spine in alignment and reduce pressure on the discs and vertebrae. When these muscles are cut — and sometimes detached — the recovery process can be a lot longer and more complicated than necessary.

If the scar tissue from the large incision prevents the fusion from setting properly, you could experience failed back surgery syndrome.

What is failed back surgery syndrome?

Failed back surgery syndrome, which may include a failed lumbar fusion, describes a series of problems that can develop when an open spine operation is not successful. This can occur as a result of the following:

  • Initial diagnosis was incorrect
  • Surgery was performed on wrong section of spine
  • Surgery created problems in other regions of the spine
  • Nerve damage or muscle injury was sustained during surgery

Symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome include:

  • Return of old symptoms and/or presentation of new symptoms
  • Limited mobility
  • Spasms, spontaneous immobility or joint lockage
  • Anxiety, depression, drug dependence

Avoiding failed back surgery syndrome

Patients who undergo a traditional open spinal fusion are especially susceptible to the development of failed back surgery syndrome. In order to help avoid this painful and frustrating condition, you should research all of your alternative treatment options before moving forward with spine surgery.

For example, Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive stabilization surgery that is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back fusion. Our procedures use a small incision that avoids the surrounding muscles, allowing our patients to experience a shorter recovery time,^ lower risk of infection and complication, and a higher patient satisfaction rate than patients who opt for traditional open back fusion.

If you have experienced a failed lumbar fusion, contact Laser Spine Institute and ask for a review of your MRI or CT scan. Our spine experts can help you find the best treatment option for your condition so you can recapture your quality of life.

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