Your Guide to Failed Back Surgery Syndrome FBSS

One of the most discouraging conditions to be diagnosed with is failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS). FBSS is when a surgical procedure does not successfully relieve symptoms, makes symptoms worse, and/or causes new symptoms. The cause for this condition varies between patients. Although disheartening, FBSS can be treated. 

At BEST Health System, we are dedicated to getting you the relief you deserve. We also believe that patient education is crucial to a treatment plan. BEST is more than capable of treating FBSS, offering conservative treatment options or minimally invasive surgery. 

What Can Cause FBSS

Surgeries tend to be very complex and although surgery aims to relieve your pain, not all surgeries can accomplish this. Consider the following, as they are a list of potential causes for FBSS:

Misdiagnosis of pain. It can be difficult for an orthopaedic surgeon to diagnose the cause of leg or back pain in some cases. In addition to having similar symptoms, back and spine conditions can affect multiple areas of the body and cause referred pain, making it difficult to make an accurate diagnosis.

Inadequate decompression. The primary goal of spinal decompression surgery is to relieve pressure on nerves pinched by herniated discs and spinal stenosis. Insufficient space around the spinal nerves and spinal cord can result in recurrent disc herniation.

Multilevel degeneration or new onset degeneration. Even if the surgery was successful at the spinal level, continued wear and tear degeneration across multiple levels may be causing back pain and symptoms.

Scar tissue formation. In the healing process, scar tissue forms around surgical sites. In some cases, a nerve root may be entrapped in scar tissue, resulting in pain after the operation. 

Developing FBSS can be unpredictable. However, some identified risk factors include obesity, an emotional disorder such as depression or anxiety, or smoking. FBSS is a serious condition that can’t be taken lightly but can be treated. Do not hold off on treatment if you have FBSS. 

Symptoms of FBSS

FBSS symptoms can range depending on the patient and their procedure type. In some cases, patients will feel the same symptoms after surgery. Other patients may feel partial relief, but symptoms will start again after a few weeks. In the worst cases, a patient will feel significantly worse following surgery or may even exhibit new symptoms not present before surgery. 

It is common to feel some degree of pain after surgery, but if said pain persists after recovery and rehabilitation, you will likely have FBSS. if this is the case, you should consult your doctor immediately before symptoms worsen. 

Your Treatment Options 

If you’ve been diagnosed with FBSS, the chances of being recommended for a second surgery are slim. The common approach to treating FBSS is through conservative methods. These can include: 

Medications. Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can provide relief from pain, swelling, and inflammation. Your doctor may prescribe stronger medications or muscle relaxants if you are experiencing significant pain.

Physical therapy. FBSS is commonly treated with physical therapy and rehabilitation. Physical therapy strengthens your back and core muscles, improves your balance, and increases your range of motion in the spine.

Injections. Pain and inflammation around irritated nerve roots can be reduced with a corticosteroid injection directly into the spine. Despite the temporary effects of the injection, the period of pain relief will allow you to work on strengthening and improving mobility.

How BEST Can Help

BEST Health System is dedicated to helping you get back on track with your life with the pain relief you deserve. We offer a variety of imaging and diagnostic services, such as BEST’s newly installed MRI. Furthermore, we provide treatments such as physical therapy and other conservative methods.

Although it is not usually recommended if you have FBSS, there are some instances where you will need another surgical procedure. A second surgery is typically only recommended if months of conservative treatments are ineffective for treating FBSS. If this is the case, our board-certified surgeons, Dr. Abbott and Dr. Girton are experts in minimally invasive surgery. 

Our minimally invasive procedures use a less than one-inch incision and have many benefits. These include faster recovery time, no need for overnight hospital stays, and lower risk of complication. 

If you are interested, contact BEST today!