Failed Spinal Implant Surgery

Orthopedic surgeons rely on many different types of hardware to successfully reduce back and neck pain. For degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and numerous other ailments of the lumbar and cervical spine, your surgeon may recommend a spinal implant – a device that is placed inside of the spine to support and replace various structures. Implants may be used for:

  • Augmenting spinal fusion.
  • Straightening or correcting spinal deformities.
  • Strengthening the spine, and more.

But no matter their purpose, the primary goal is to reduce pain. While most spinal implant surgeries are successful, some – an estimated 7.8% or more – do fail, which means the pain either comes back, or new pain develops as a result of the surgery.

Types of Failed Spinal Implants

All manufacturers of spinal implants are at risk of failure, including the most trusted brands used by orthopedic surgeons today. These include:

  • Failed X-Stop
  • Failed Mobi-C
  • Failed Coflex

There are also over 20 different spine implant companies currently manufacturing new and interesting implants, and while many of these implants are extremely well made, all implants run some type of failure risk for most patients.

Causes of Failed Spinal Implants

Determining the cause of a spinal implant must be reviewed on a case by case basis. Failed lumbar spinal implants may have very different causes than failed cervical spinal implants, for example, and these will need to be reviewed at length in order to determine what caused the failure. But possible causes include:

  • Hardware Failure – Even the best designed spinal implants may still erode, break, or otherwise have problems that result in hardware failure, and the recurrence of spinal pain.
  • Fractures – Not all patients are good candidates for spinal implant surgery, and it’s possible that some patients were chosen incorrectly, and experience fractures as a result of bone softness or weakness.
  • Dislocation – Some failed spinal implants were simply not installed firmly enough to stay in place. Dislocation of the spinal implant was another common cause of spinal implant failure.
  • Poor Implant Choice – Different implants come in different sizes. If the wrong implant size is chosen for the procedure, the end result may be the recurrence of pain.

All common causes of failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) are also possible as well, such as misdiagnosis of the pain, surgical error, and more.

Treatment for Failed Spinal Implants

Those that have undergone spinal implant surgery and are experiencing pain can benefit in treatment. Treatment for spinal implant failure is often highly successful, with many patients experiencing a reduction or elimination of debilitating pain.

Treatment for failed spinal implants vary. Although we at Spine Center Atlanta always look for non-surgical means first, usually spinal implant failures do require a revision surgery. The surgery may be a replacement of the spinal implant, installation of additional support for the spine, or other procedures as needed.

Proper diagnosis, however, is key. In order to determine treatment, it is important to consider reviewing your case with a trained failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) expert surgeon. Led by Dr. James Chappuis, Spine Center Atlanta has been providing comprehensive assistance for those with failed back surgery across the country, serving not only Atlanta, but also the rest of the United States.

For more information about our diagnosis and treatment options for failed spinal implant surgery, please call us today at 404-900-7690.