Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS) occurs as a result of spinal surgery. This generalized condition is characterized by chronic leg or back pain that occurs after back surgery. FBSS can be caused by unsuccessful spine surgery or the creation of new problems from the surgery. Factors that contribute to pain following spinal surgery include recurrent disc herniation, altered joint mobility, scar tissue, post-operative pressure on a spinal nerve, joint hypermobility, or loss of conditioning in the spinal muscles. It can also be caused by depression, anxiety, or sleeplessness after the surgery.
- Diffuse pain in legs or back
- Dull pain in legs or back
- Aching pain in legs or back
- Sharp pain or pricking in extremities
- Spasms or cramping in back
- Inability to regain mobility
- Depression, anxiety, insomnia
The causes of pain resulting from FBSS can differ with each person, therefore symptoms can vary greatly. Persistent pain can start at the site of surgery or can be general pain in the legs.
- Auto-immune Disease
- Vascular Disease
- Excess Body Weight
FBSS is diagnosed by carefully reviewing your complete medical history. Special attention is given to discussing the onset, progression, and description of your pain since the surgery along with performing a series of diagnostic tests. Our doctors routinely use an MRI, a CT, and fluoroscopy (live X-ray) tests to diagnose and locate the source of pain.
Possible treatments for FBSS depend on the cause of pain. Some causes can be treated directly, but others are more difficult to treat.
Initial treatments include physical therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), antidepressants, epidural steroid injections, membrane stabilizers, or narcotic pain pumps.
For chronic pain that cannot be treated directly, our healthcare team offers a spinal cord stimulator to relieve your pain. When the pain is caused by something that cannot be repaired, the pain can be blocked by this small implantable device. The spinal cord stimulator reinterprets that pain signals before they reach your brain so you experience a gentle tingling instead of the discomfort of your previous pain. This has proven to be very successful in relieving back pain due to FBSS.