Failed back surgery syndrome refers to a condition whereby patients have persistent pain or develop new pain after undergoing spinal surgery. Various spinal surgeries are utilized to treat numerous conditions of the spine. These surgical procedures include, but are not limited to, laminectomies, discectomies, spinal stenosis decompression, and spinal fusion procedures.
Patients with failed back surgery syndrome may report an initial relief of symptoms; however, they will typically start to report an increase in pain around three to six months after surgery. Typical symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome include a diffuse, dull ache in the back or legs. Additionally, abnormal sensation including pricking and stabbing may be felt in the extremities.
Patients presenting with symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome need to be thoroughly evaluated in order to determine the underlying cause of their pain, due to the many possible causes. There are various treatment options that can be offered to patients with this condition, ranging from conservative treatments to slightly more invasive options. Optimal treatment outcomes are usually seen with a combination of treatment therapies. Patients should discuss their symptoms with their physicians to determine an appropriate treatment plan for their condition.