Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
If back surgery is unsuccessful, patients may experience symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS).
Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
The following symptoms indicate failed back surgery syndrome:
Return of original symptoms
New pain emerges
Patients experiencing any of the following extreme symptoms should seek medical attention immediately:
Electric-like pain in the lower body
Unintentional weight loss
Loss of bowel or bladder function
Patients experiencing these symptoms or injuries should visit their nearest Emergency Department for treatment.
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The Causes of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
To reduce the risk of failed back surgery syndrome, patients should choose operations that have a high degree of success and ensure the correct lesion is identified beforehand.
Causes of FBSS include:
Operating on the wrong lesion
Fusion surgery considerations, such as failure to fuse or implant; the level above or below the fusion deteriorates and causes pain.
Lumbar decompression back surgery considerations, such as recurrent spinal stenosis or disc herniation, inadequate decompression of a nerve root, preoperative nerve damage that fails to heal after surgery, and nerve damage caused by surgery.
Scar tissue considerations, such as formation of scar tissue around the nerve root.
Postoperative rehabilitation, which refers to additional pain from a secondary source.
Types of Pain Caused by Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
After failed back surgery, patients may experience one or more of the following types of pain:
- Chronic pain, or significant pain that lasts more than 12 weeks.
- Nociceptive pain, which is dull or sharp pain around the incision site.
- Neuropathic pain, which is caused by damage to the nerves or spinal cord; may be accompanied by numbness, burning, tingling, weakness, and other unusual sensations.
- Radicular pain, or pain that radiates from one part of the body to another.
At Las Vegas Primary Care, patients with failed back surgery syndrome may be treated with joint and soft tissue injections, pain management therapy, and occupational medicine.
Joint and soft tissue injections may help alleviate pain from failed back surgery syndrome. Injections offered at Las Vegas Primary Care include piriformis injections, sacroiliac joint injections, epidural injections, and trigger point injections.
Patients may also benefit from pain management therapy, which may include hot and cold therapy, massage, acupuncture, cognitive behavior therapy, yoga, tai chi, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, opioids, antidepressants, and beta-blockers.
If failed back surgery syndrome interferes with a patient’s daily life and impairs their ability to perform job duties, occupational medicine could help the patient adjust to the demands of the workplace.
Staff at Las Vegas Primary Care are also trained to help employers adapt the workplace to the limitations of employees experiencing symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome. Occupational medicine can help both employers and injured employees adjust to the situation.
Some patients may need advanced treatment to address symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome. Advanced treatment may include chiropractic adjustment, physical therapy, and even a repeat surgery. Patients are encouraged to speak to their physician at Las Vegas Primary Care to learn more about obtaining advanced treatment for failed back surgery syndrome.
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