What should I do if I think I have failed back surgery syndrome?

The sense of disappointment that accompanies failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) can be emotionally devastating. It’s easy to fall into denial. After all, everyone says to expect some pain after an open spinal fusion procedure. Surely, it will go away eventually. Won’t it? Yes, it is true: It takes time for the incisions associated with traditional fusion surgery to heal. And yes, the healing process takes longer for some patients than for others. [dbt1] Yet, at some point after surgery, if chronic neck or back pain continues to be debilitating, it is time to address the possibility that you may, in fact, be experiencing symptoms of FBSS. What then?

Starting over

The first thing to do if you think you have FBSS is to consult your physician. He or she will likely perform examinations and tests similar to those performed when you first became concerned that chronic pain was having an adverse affect on your quality of life. You will also be asked whether you have followed postoperative instructions strictly. It is obviously important to do so to give your surgical wounds the best chance to heal correctly. Acknowledging deviations from prescribed physical therapy or other postoperative procedures can also help your physician determine a potential cause for your FBSS.

Chances are, before considering another surgical procedure, you will be asked to undergo many of the same conservative treatments that were used before your surgery, including:

  • Physical therapy
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Nonsteroidal, over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medication
  • Epidural steroidal injections
  • Exercise and stretching
  • Hot and cold compresses

The minimally invasive alternative

One way to avoid FBSS associated with unsuccessful spinal fusion is to contact Laser Spine Institute before settling for traditional open neck or back surgery. The surgeons at Laser Spine Institute treat degenerative spine conditions such as herniated discs with minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that can help you find relief from neck and back pain. Guided by the latest technology, the board-certified surgeons+ at Laser Spine Institute have had tens of thousands of successful outcomes. Call today for your MRI review to see if you are a candidate for our surgery.