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Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

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Male patient with failed back surgery syndrome

With LA Pain Specialist, patients can find hope again following Failed Back Surgery.

Approximately 400,000 people undergo back surgery every year in the United States. While most of these surgeries are successful, surveys have revealed that as many as 40 percent of these people suffer from failed back surgery syndrome. This is a blanket term that refers to complications that can arise while a patient is recovering from a spinal surgery.

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Causes of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

The most common cause of failed back surgery syndrome is poor preoperative patient selection. In layman’s terms, this means that the patient was not a good candidate for a spinal surgery. When a surgeon is deciding how to proceed during an operation, they look for an anatomic lesion in the spine that correlates to the patient’s pain pattern. While some lesions are easier to predict than others, there are enough sources of pain that mimic spinal issues to make the process notoriously difficult. Other causes of failed back surgery syndrome include:

  • A recurrent herniated disc after the surgery
  • A technical error on the part of the surgeon
Male suffering with failed back surgery syndrome
Lady suffering with failed back surgery syndrome at lower back

Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

The most common symptom of failed back surgery syndrome is chronic pain that is not a part of the normal recovery process. You can almost always expect some pain while recovering from a major surgery, but that pain should not be more severe than it was before your operation, and it shouldn’t be located in a new region. Other symptoms include:

  • Back spasms
  • Reduced mobility
  • Numbness radiating into the legs
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

What to Do if You Suffer from Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Some pain is to be expected when you are recovering from spinal surgery, so it is possible that the pain that you are feeling is normal. If your pain is persistent or you feel new pain in a different region, consult your primary care doctor and your surgeon as soon as possible. It is likely that your doctor will begin with conservative treatments for your condition such as pain medication and physical therapy. If your pain persists even after several months of this kind of treatment, you may need to undergo an additional surgical procedure to correct the problem.

Determining the exact cause of back pain either before or after surgery can be very difficult. This is a major reason why failed back surgery syndrome is so common. Before you decide that surgery is the best option for you, it is best to get a second opinion from a spinal health specialist and explore other options. While it is possible that surgery is the best way to go for you, it should be seen as a last resort after other treatment options have failed.

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Testimonials

I have a pain syndrome that makes it difficult to do daily tasks, but the specialists here are helping me explore new pain management techniques all the time.
M. N.
I have been dealing with pain ever since a car accident years ago but really didn't want to resort to surgery. Los Angeles Pain Specialist has helped me and was patient with me while finding a non-invasive option.
T. L.
I wasn't sure I would ever be able to sleep through the night again, but the doctors here have worked with me to help alleviate pain I thought I would have to live with forever.
C. M.