Symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome to watch out for

Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) symptoms can often be difficult to identify because people experiencing FBSS have just undergone surgery and may think that a certain amount of pain or discomfort is normal. While the recovery process following spine surgery can sometimes be painful, it is important to be able to tell the difference between normal pain and the symptoms that may be related to a failed neck or back surgery.

Prior to surgery, talk to your surgeon about what to expect and the warning signs to look for. If you are experiencing any pain or symptoms that do not follow your surgeon’s guidelines or expectations, be sure to contact your doctor to determine the source of your pain. He or she can also help you modify your recovery plan or develop a course of treatment, if needed.

Warning signs for failed back surgery syndrome

FBSS can be caused by a variety of factors. From bone graft rejection to an initial misdiagnosis of the condition, there are many possible causes and the symptoms can develop in different ways for different people. Some commonly reported failed back surgery syndrome symptoms include:

  • Persistent pain at or around the site of surgery
  • A return of the pre-surgery symptoms
  • The appearance of new symptoms in different areas of the body
  • Spasms or cramping in the neck or back
  • An inability to regain mobility
  • Numbness or tingling in the neck, back and/or extremities
  • Depression, anxiety or insomnia

Ways to reduce your risk of FBSS

Any type of surgery carries some degree of risk, and it is impossible to completely eliminate the chances of developing failed back surgery syndrome when you undergo a spine procedure. However, opting for a less invasive procedure can greatly reduce the risk. Highly invasive open spine surgeries that involve hospitalization and tissue trauma pose the highest risk of FBSS.

In contrast, the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute is performed through a small muscle-sparing incision. This minimally invasive approach to spine surgery offers our patients an outpatient procedure with a lower risk of infection and complication and a shorter recovery time^ compared to traditional open back surgery. If you are considering spine surgery and would like to learn more about your options for a minimally invasive alternative that may help to prevent FBSS, contact Laser Spine Institute.

Our team will review your MRI or CT scan at no cost to you* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.