Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS)

If you are living with chronic neck and back pain, you may hope to find a treatment that will help you live and work again, in a life without pain. The idea that back surgery can fail can be very unsettling.

Failed back surgery syndrome is a term used to describe a spine surgery that fails to reduce symptoms, leads to new symptoms or increases a patient’s pain and discomfort. This condition has a number of potential causes, including surgical error and misdiagnosis. Unfortunately, it can be impossible to predict post-surgery symptoms that develop along the spine. And in some cases, additional degenerative changes occur in the spine following surgery. Regardless of the exact cause of FBSS, this condition is certainly the worst-case scenario for those that undergo neck and back surgery.

Reduce your chances of FBSS

While a surgeon will always do his or her best to reduce the chances of FBSS, you can take action to avoid or least reduce the likelihood of developing FBSS:

  • Choose your surgeon carefully — Do your research, get a second (or third) opinion, read online reviews and ask friends and family members for advice to find the best possible surgeon in your area. While FBSS can develop regardless of the quality of surgeon, vetting your surgeon is still a good first step.

  • Always follow your surgeon’s instructions — Before your procedure, your surgeon will give you detailed instructions on how to prepare for surgery. You should follow these instructions closely in the days and weeks leading up to the operation to help avoid FBSS. Once the procedure is complete, the surgeon will also be very clear about what you can do to accelerate the healing process and what activities should be avoided. These instructions are essential in the recovery process.

  • Consider minimally invasive spine surgery — Traditional open spine surgery comes with a much higher risk for FBSS because of the nature of the surgery. Minimally invasive spine surgery, offered at Laser Spine Institute, carries less risk.

Consider minimally invasive spine surgery

If you are worried that back surgery could fail, we invite you to consider minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute. Our surgeons treat a variety of severe spine conditions using minimally invasive decompression surgery and minimally invasive stabilization surgery. We are proud to have helped more than 75,000 patients since 2005.

Our procedures are outpatient procedures that carry a reduced risk of infection. In addition, our surgical techniques move your muscles, instead of cutting them, so your muscles are spared during surgery. Our goal is to help you recover quickly so that you can get back to work and your daily activities.

Please call a member of our Care Team for your MRI review and to see if you are a candidate for surgery at our center.