Failed Spinal Surgery Syndrome

What is Failed Spinal Surgery Syndrome?

It has been found that over 40 % of people who had undergone neck or back surgery continue to experience severe pain. Even after one year after healing the wound, the symptoms of their spinal deformity still exist in such persons. The main reason for this continued pain is the failure of the surgery to decompress the affected nerves completely and consequential stability problem of the vertebrae. Patients who suffer with failed back surgery syndrome usually become depressed and obese due to inactivity and feels their quality of life has deteriorated.

What are the Causes for failed back surgery syndrome?

If the earlier surgery was conducted based on a wrong diagnosis the problem, would not have been solved and it may be still persisting. This can be one of the possible reasons for the persistence of pain and symptoms.The second reason can be that the surgery was performed on a wrong portion of the vertebrae or spine where there was no problem. This will result in persistence of pain as the affected area still remains unattended.

Even if the correct surgery was performed in the correct area, the pain may remain there if the intended fusion would not have taken place or if the hardware used for fusion has broken due to wear and tear. This usually happens in the case of obese persons and in the case where more vertebrae are fused together. Pain may persist if spine spurs or fragments of discs or ligaments are still remaining or the spine was already having permanent damage.

What are the treatment options for failed spinal surgery corrections?

There are no specific treatment methods for failed back surgery syndrome. Steroid injection and medications can be tried. They may be beneficial in reducing the pain and symptoms temporarily. But there is no definite and clear cut treatment options which can be recommended for addressing failed spinal surgery correction problems. Continuance of symptoms even after undergoing conservative treatment option may cause depression and consequent weight gain in some patients. Such persons will be advised to go psychiatric treatment for stabilizing their mental condition and to improve the quality of life.

Spinal cord stimulation is a newer method that is being tried out on patients who face failed spinal surgery problems. In this procedure electrical impulses produced by electors are used to stimulate the affected nerves on trial basis. If this trial is found to be useful to the patient then the electrodes are implanted permanently in the body of the patient for continued use.

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