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Failed back surgery syndrome

What is failed back surgery syndrome?

Failed back surgery syndrome, or FBSS, describes a patient’s condition following a surgical procedure that was not successful in treating existing neck and back symptoms or resulted in the development of new symptoms. An estimated 40 percent of patients who undergo traditional open back surgery may experience symptoms of FBSS.

How is failed back surgery syndrome diagnosed?

Following a spine surgery procedure, pain and other symptoms outside of what your surgeon describes as part of the recovery process may indicate FBSS. If you experience symptoms that are unexpected or more severe than you were told to anticipate, it’s important to consult a doctor to determine the underlying cause of your discomfort.

What causes failed back surgery syndrome?

There are numerous reasons why a traditional open spinal surgery may not alleviate existing symptoms or could create new ones. Some of the possible causes of FBSS include:

  • An incorrect diagnosis of the original condition prior to surgery
  • Failure of spinal fusion surgery
  • Scar tissue formation that irritates a nerve root
  • Hardware insertion
  • Performing an incorrect procedure or performing a procedure in the wrong location

What are the symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome?

Following a spinal procedure, symptoms of FBSS will vary depending on the underlying cause and may include:

  • A continuation of the same symptoms experienced prior to surgery
  • New symptoms of pain, muscle weakness, back spasms, restricted mobility or other discomfort

Properly identifying the cause of these symptoms will influence what treatment option is most suitable.

What are some common treatments for failed back surgery syndrome?

In some cases, conservative treatments may help reduce symptoms of FBSS. Physical therapy, gentle exercises and stretching may strengthen the muscles surrounding your spine to help you recover from surgery.

However, more severe cases may require additional surgery to correct the problem. At Laser Spine Institute, offer minimally invasive spine surgery that is an alternative to traditional open spine surgery. Because of our muscle-sparing approach to the spine, our patients experience a lower risk of complication and shorter recovery time^ than patients who choose traditional spine surgery.

Contact Laser Spine Institute in Philadelphia to learn more about how our minimally invasive procedures may be the solution to your neck or back pain.