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Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

What is failed back surgery syndrome?

Failed back surgery syndrome is the condition of chronic back, neck, or leg pain after having spinal surgery. It may include extremity pain but it is not required for a diagnosis.  Failed back surgery syndromCommon symptoms associated with Failed Back Syndrome include diffuse, dull and aching pain involving the back and/or legs. Patients may also complain of sharp, pricking, burning or stabbing pain in the extremities.Multiple factors can contribute to the development of failed back syndrome, but it is often a chronic condition developed after a laminectomy, or a surgical procedure that removes a portion of the vertebral bone called the lamina. Other factors that may contribute to the development of failed back syndrome are:

  • Recurrent spinal disc herniation
  • Persistent post operative pressure on a spinal nerve
  • Scar tissue or fibrosis
  • Sleeplessness
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Spinal muscular deconditioning
  • Joint hypermobility with instability

 

How will I be treated for failed back surgery syndrome? 

First, Dr. Moheimani will review the treatment history, particularly the type of surgery done and for what reason. Particular attention is paid to the result of the surgery and how the patient’s symptoms have evolved following the surgery. A physical examination will also be done. X-rays, MRI and computed tomography (CT) may be ordered.

Treatment for failed back surgery syndrome may include physical therapy, nerve blocks, medications, injections or a chronic pain management program. If the pain is possibly coming from the facet or sacroiliac joints, chiropractic care may be used. Correctable structural problems are sought and, if identified, surgery may be performed to address these issues with Failed Back Syndrome.

This may include facet joint or sacroiliac joint rhizotomy. Sometimes no correctable cause of the patient’s symptoms with Failed Back Syndrome is identified. In these cases, spinal cord stimulation (SCS) or narcotic pumps may be used for pain control. It is important to discuss treatment options with Dr. Moheimani in deciding which treatment, if any, may be best for you.

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