Pain during your spinal fusion recovery — what does it mean?

After a traditional open spine fusion surgery, some degree of pain and discomfort is normal. This is a highly invasive surgery and your body will need time to fully heal and recover. There is a difference, however, between normal discomfort associated with postoperative rehabilitation and severe pain that occurs due to failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS).

FBSS is a broad term used to describe a wide range of symptoms that can develop in the time following an unsuccessful spinal fusion surgery. These include, but are not limited to, a return of the original symptoms, new or worsened symptoms, an inability to heal, an inability to regain mobility and severe pain in the extremities.

Causes of FBSS

FBSS does not necessarily have any one particular cause, but can develop due to one or more of the following factors:

  • Your condition was incorrectly diagnosed
  • The surgery was performed on the wrong level of the spine
  • Nerves were not fully decompressed during the surgery
  • Nerve damage occurred during surgery
  • Your body rejected the implanted hardware or bone graft
  • Excessive scar tissue formed after surgery

For all of these reasons, it can be beneficial to go for multiple surgical consultations before consenting to surgery. This can ensure that surgery is the best course of action for you. If you do decide to undergo a spinal fusion, be sure that you choose a physician with suitable credentials and extensive experience in treating your particular spine condition. Taking these precautions may reduce your risk of developing FBSS or other issues that can lead to excessive spinal fusion pain.

How can I reduce my risk?

FBSS is a risk with any spine surgery, not just spinal fusion, and pain of some degree will likely accompany any postoperative recovery process. However, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing FBSS by opting for a less invasive procedure. Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive spine surgery that is an alternative to traditional open back surgery, including fusion. Our minimally invasive stabilization procedures can decompress nerves and provide stabilization required after surgery for more severe spine conditions using a small, muscle-sparing incision. This leads to a shorter recovery time^ and a lower risk of complication than traditional procedures.

Contact Laser Spine Institute for your no-cost MRI review* to find out if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.