Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

What Is Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

apex fbss

Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS or failed back syndrome) is a term used to describe back surgery patients who did not receive successful results from surgery or still experience back pain. Spine surgery is not guaranteed 100%, there are many variables that cannot be foreseen before surgery, even by the best surgeons. There are many reasons as to why a patient would experience FBSS, let’s explore them together.

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Reasons for Failed Back Surgery

The main goal of performing back surgery is to decompress a pinched nerve root, or to stabilize painful joints. Sadly surgery is not able to cut out a patient’s pain, but can only change the probability of pain once surgery is complete.

Most commonly a patient will still feel pain from FBSS because the area that was operated was not specifically the cause to the pain.

Pain After Surgery

The best way to avoid needing multiple back surgeries and experiencing FBSS is to have operations with higher probability of reducing patient pain. Also ensuring the area in question is indeed the exact cause of the pain.

Some surgeries are more predictable in releasing patient symptoms including:

  • A discectomy for lumbar herniated discs causing leg pain is a predictable back surgery; however lumbar herniated discs causing lower back pain is less predictable.

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  • A spine fusion for spinal instability, or spondylolisthesis, can be a predictable operation. Although, a fusion surgery for conditions such as degenerative disc disease is far less predictable in decreasing pain.

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