Failed back surgery syndrome statistics don’t tell the whole story

Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States undergo spine surgery each year. Of those who undergo open neck or back procedures, studies indicate that anywhere from 10 to 40 percent may experience some form of postoperative complications.

As important as these statistics are, one aspect that is easy to overlook is the emotional and psychological toll these complications, also known as failed back surgery syndrome, can have.

If you are beginning to research the possibility of spine surgery, it is important to have an understanding of failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS). Simply, failed back surgery syndrome is when a patient experiences either returning or new symptoms after undergoing a spine procedure. Causes for this include the formation of excessive scar tissue, infection, complications or nerve damage during surgery. While the physical symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome are potentially debilitating, the mental and emotional toll can also have a serious impact on your quality of life.

The mental and emotional toll of FBSS

While failed back surgery syndrome statistics show that tens of thousands of patients do not gain physical relief from their operations, what is harder to quantify is the emotional and mental damage caused by this risk.

Most people who undergo spine surgery do it as a last resort method of treatment. That means they have been suffering from pain for months or years and have exhausted conservative treatments. For people who are dealing with FBSS, it means they have been through all of these steps, making the difficult decision to undergo surgery, only to find that it has not been successful.

From this perspective, it is easy to recognize the emotional and quality-of-life implications of failed back surgery syndrome. While this condition does not directly cause mental health problems like anxiety disorder and depression, it is often closely linked to their development because of feelings of hopelessness after undergoing an unsuccessful procedure.

Reduce your risk of developing failed back surgery syndrome

While every type of spine surgery carries some degree of risk, there are many factors that can reduce the risk of complications like FBSS, including the type of procedure being performed. As an alternative to traditional open neck or back procedures performed in a hospital, Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive spine surgery.

By using muscle-sparing techniques, our surgeons can access the spine with a less than 1-inch incision, allowing our procedures to be performed on an outpatient basis. Among the benefits we can offer our patients is a 2.08 percent complication rate compared to up to 16.4 percent for other spine surgery providers.^ To learn more about our procedures, caring medical team and our state-of-the-art facilities, contact Laser Spine Institute today.

We can help you determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures by providing a free MRI review.*