Failed back surgical syndrome, also known as post-laminectomy syndrome, is when a patient experiences continued pain following spine surgery. There are many reasons why spine surgery may or may not work. For those with failed back surgical syndrome additional therapies are needed to provide pain relief. Your healthcare provider will work with you to diagnose and treat your failed back surgical syndrome.
If you suffer from failed back surgical syndrome and would like additional information on this painful condition, please review the video and frequently asked questions below. If you are interested in or scheduled for a spinal cord stimulator trial or implant for failed back surgical syndrome and would like additional information on this interventional procedure please refer to our article on spinal cord stimulators. Additionally, if you have questions or concerns do not hesitate to discuss them with your physician.
Failed Back Surgical Syndrome FAQ
Failed back surgical syndrome, also known as post-laminectomy syndrome, is when a patient experiences continued pain following spine surgery. Pain that is chronic following a spine surgery such as a laminectomy, spinal fusion, or discectomy may be classified as Failed back surgical syndrome. There are many causes of failed back surgical syndrome, but it is typically the result of muscle pain, muscle spasms, or nerve pain similar to sciatica. Muscle pain is characterized by dull aching, cramping, and soreness around the surgery site. Whereas, nerve pain is characterized by shooting pain, ”electric shock-like” pain, tingling, or weakness in the area affected by the surgery.
To determine whether you are suffering from failed back surgical syndrome or from another condition, your provider will start with a comprehensive medical review and physical exam. Diagnostic tests that include x-rays, lab results, electromyography, and/or MRIs will also be reviewed.
Failed back surgical syndrome may be treated in many ways including non-opioid adjuvant medications, epidural steroid injections, trigger point injections, spinal cord stimulation, and complementary therapies such as acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care, and physical therapy. Failed back surgical syndrome may be treated as part of a care team model involving pain psychology, pain management, orthopedic or neurological surgery and primary care specialties working together.
Photo by: University of Utah Hospital – Radiology Department / Public domain