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Failed back surgery syndrome explained by the medical team at Laser Spine Institute Tampa

Traditional open back surgery is a common choice for people who are looking for relief from some type of degenerative spinal condition. Unfortunately, failed back surgery syndrome can be the result in nearly 40 percent of cases where open neck or back surgery is the chosen treatment method.

What is failed back surgery syndrome?

Failed back surgery syndrome is a term used to describe the condition of a patient who has undergone traditional open spine surgery and is still experiencing the symptoms that prompted the surgery. Additionally, this term can describe someone who is experiencing new symptoms following open neck or back surgery that weren’t present prior to the procedure.

Diagnosing this condition

The diagnosis process for failed back surgery syndrome is relatively straightforward. If you’ve recently undergone open spine surgery and you are not experiencing relief from your symptoms, or new symptoms have appeared, it’s important to see a physician. You will likely undergo a physical examination to evaluate your symptoms, and an X-ray, CT scan or MRI will be used to more accurately identify the cause of your symptoms.

What leads to failed back surgery syndrome?

Failed back surgery syndrome can be the result of several factors. Some of the more common causes include a spinal fusion procedure that failed, nerve damage that occurred during the surgery, the inability of a physician to accurately diagnose a patient’s condition before surgery, or the incomplete removal of disc or bone materials that were producing the original symptoms. It is also possible that the open neck or back procedure resulted in the development of a new spinal condition, potentially due to the formation of scar tissue.

How to know if you are experiencing failed back surgery syndrome

If you’ve undergone traditional open spine surgery and you are not find relief as quickly as expected, failed back surgery syndrome is a possibility. Other issues that could be an indication of this condition include chronic pain, aching in the neck, back or legs, muscle spasms, sharp pains in the extremities and limited mobility.

Failed back surgery syndrome treatment

Your physician will likely suggest a combination of nonsurgical treatments, depending on the specific condition you are experiencing and the location of the symptoms. Options can include physical therapy, prescription painkillers, hot/cold therapy and periods of rest. You may also want to consider alternative treatments such as massage therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic care.

Surgical treatment options

Conservative and alternative treatments, when attempted for several weeks, provide relief for many patients. If they are unsuccessful, you may be asked to consider another surgical procedure, despite the risks this can involve. At Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, FL, we perform minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery to treat many degenerative spine conditions — including failed back surgery syndrome — while boasting a patient recommendation score of 98 out of 100.^

If you would like to learn more and find out if you are a potential candidate, contact us today and ask our dedicated team for a no-cost MRI review.*