Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS) is a term used to describe ongoing pain or discomfort following spinal surgery. Spinal surgery aims to reduce pain and improve function; however, in some cases, the desired outcome is not achieved, and the pain persists or worsens. FBSS can occur after spinal surgery, including laminectomy, spinal fusion, discectomy, and spinal cord stimulation.

FBSS is believed to be caused by a combination of factors, including scar tissue formation, nerve damage, spinal instability, and residual or recurrent herniated discs. Additionally, psychological factors such as depression, anxiety, and chronic pain can contribute to the development of FBSS.

Diagnosis of FBSS is typically made through a thorough medical history, physical examination, and imaging studies such as MRI or CT scans. Further testing, such as nerve conduction studies or a spinal cord stimulation trial, may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of FBSS can be challenging, as it often requires a multidisciplinary approach. Medications such as pain relievers, anticonvulsants, and muscle relaxants may be used to manage symptoms. Physical therapy, exercise, and rehabilitation can also help improve function and reduce pain.

In some cases, repeat surgery may be recommended to address the underlying cause of FBSS. However, this approach is not always successful and carries the risk of further complications. Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage therapy may be helpful for some patients, but their effectiveness has not been extensively studied.

One of the key challenges in treating FBSS is the need for a clear understanding of the underlying mechanisms that cause the syndrome. This makes it difficult for healthcare providers to determine each patient's best action. Additionally, the high cost of medical care and the potential for long-term disability associated with FBSS can significantly impact a patient's quality of life.

In conclusion, FBSS is a complex condition that can significantly impact a patient's quality of life. It often requires a multidisciplinary approach to management, including a combination of medications, physical therapy, and repeat surgery in some cases. While diagnosing and treating FBSS can be challenging, patients need to work closely with their healthcare providers to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses their individual needs and goals.

If you have had a spinal procedure and are still experiencing symptoms, call us today to learn more about potential diagnostic and treatment options with Spine Physicians Institute.

Spine Physicians Institute treats back pain, neck pain, herniated discs, stenosis and other spine problems. Patients come to the spine center from across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Dr. Sethuraman is one of few Mayo Clinic fellowship-trained spine surgeons in the North Texas area. A fellowship is the highest level of medical education in the U.S.

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