What is failed back surgery syndrome and how is it treated?

Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is a general term used to describe the condition of an individual who did not achieve a satisfactory result from spine surgery. There can be many reasons for this. FBSS occurs whenever a patient experiences continuing, worsened or new discomfort after having a surgical procedure that was intended to address chronic neck or back pain.

Treatment for failed back surgery syndrome may be necessary to ease severe pain, either localized or traveling, or to address muscle weakness, numbness, tingling, spasms, sleep disturbances or depression. Because FBSS can result from a variety of causes and create a number of different symptoms, its treatment options can vary. A failed back surgery syndrome treatment plan will usually begin with one or more nonsurgical therapies, such as medications, physical therapy, hot/cold compresses, chiropractic care or counseling, before any further surgery is considered. In a minority of cases, more surgery is ultimately necessary.

Failed back surgery syndrome

FBSS can be very disappointing and frustrating for a patient. Some factors that can influence its likelihood include inappropriate treatment based on an incorrect diagnosis, incomplete decompression of the spinal cord or an affected nerve root, the migration of a stabilizing implant that was placed during surgery and the formation of scar tissue during the healing process.

To ensure the best possible outcome from any spine surgery, it’s important to consult with trusted spine physicians to receive a second or even third opinion to confirm a diagnosis. Additionally, before consenting to a surgical procedure, a patient should thoroughly consult with their spine surgeon, asking questions and exploring all appropriate treatment options. Studies suggest that the risk of FBSS increases along with the invasiveness of the surgery performed. Therefore, it’s always best to choose the most conservative approach that is appropriate.

If failed back surgery syndrome surgery is required

Many candidates for FBSS surgery believe that a highly invasive open spine procedure is their only choice, but there are other options. The skilled surgeons at Laser Spine Institute perform minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that are good alternatives to traditional open spine surgery for many patients.

If you’re wondering whether you’re a candidate for minimally invasive, outpatient surgery for failed back surgery syndrome treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute.