Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

What is Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?
Failed back surgery syndrome is a condition whereby a spinal surgery fails to attain the expected results. Symptoms can range from chronic recurrent back pain to leg pain and even nerve damage in some cases. Some patients can undergo aggressive conservative treatments following some types of spinal surgeries. Unfortunately, patients who fail spinal fusions often have few effective options available following the fusion. Spinal fusions should be used in cases of trauma or as the very last treatment option and only after all other options have been exhausted.


It is true that most of the time chronic back problems result from pain within the disc, however the approach of fusions is to completely remove the disc and insert screws to lock the spine in place. This places unusual forces on the discs above the fusion which causes a chain reaction of disc pain from other levels. Unfortunately, chronic back pain arising from the discs have many factors that contribute to the pain profile. There are few medical professionals who truly understand the complex relationship that biomechanics play in causing chronic back problems and how to improve the biomechanics to the degree that the discs can heal on their own. In addition, discs sometime require specialized equipment to aid in the healing process.

Other spinal surgeries do not involve fusions and generally leave most other treatment options available if the disc herniation returns. A common problem with discectomies and microdiscectomies is a problem called “Recurrent Disc Herniation.” This is when the disc re-herniates at the defect caused by the surgery. This causes a return of symptoms from back pain to leg pains. Scar tissue from the surgery itself can be another long term complicating factor.

There are some patients that do require surgery for various reasons, however many patients have other treatment options available even if they have already failed physical therapy, medications, pain management spinal injections, chiropractic and acupuncture.

What’s Next?

To learn more about conservative treatment options for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, feel free to provide your contact information and we will mail you our “Severe Back, Sciatica, & Disc Pain Guide” and our “Severe Back Pain Exercise Guide” FREE of charge. These guides will further educate you about conservative treatment options related to disc problems.

" an orthopedic surgeon, it is refreshing to see advances for the treatment of chronic back pain and herniated discs. It just so happens this medical technology is helping doctor and patient alike. - Anthony Melillo, M.D., Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon