How excess body weight plays a role in failed back surgery syndrome

Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is a previous surgery that has failed or was momentarily successful and the symptoms returned shortly after. The causes of failed back surgery syndrome are wide-ranging, and many experts believe that lifestyle factors and excess body weight can significantly influence the outcome.

In general, the goal of spine surgeries is to decompress a pinched nerve root or stabilize a degenerated joint. Therefore, surgical intervention is intended to address a patient’s pain by altering the spinal anatomy. This emphasizes the importance of obtaining a highly accurate diagnosis prior to proceeding with any type of surgery and also of being screened for conditions that can affect the surgical outcome, like excess body weight. The following article will give you an overview of how to lessen the probability of experiencing an unsuccessful back surgery.

The role of excess body weight in failed back surgery syndrome

There are many reasons that a patient could experience new or persistent pain after spine surgery, one of which is excess body weight. The surgical recovery and rehabilitation process can be challenging for individuals who lack muscle strength and body conditioning. Therefore, proper preparation for surgery, including weight management through diet and exercise, is fundamental to increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Furthermore, some overweight patients continue to gain weight throughout their lives and could potentially become obese (a BMI of over 30). In cases of morbid obesity, which is defined as a BMI of over 40, the excess weight stems from fat and not muscle. In turn, this results in many critical body systems, organs and components being dangerously affected. Excess weight not only strains the heart and lungs but also puts stress on the peripheral joints like the knee as well as the spinal components, which can lead to further degeneration and back pain.

Increasing the likelihood of a successful back surgery

Typically, weight management can actually remove the need for back surgery. Surgical intervention should only be considered as a last resort, after all conservative treatment options, including medications or steroid injections, have been attempted without success. However, if failed back surgery syndrome worsens and causes pain or a neurological deficit after undergoing a weight management plan created with the help of a physician, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our outpatient procedures.

At Laser Spine Institute, our board-certified surgeons+ are able to alleviate pain in the affected area through surgeries such as a posterior decompression or spinal fusion. We have helped 75,000 patients find relief for their chronic conditions since 2005. To see if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, ask for your no-cost MRI review* today.