What Are The Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?
Failed back surgery syndrome, also known as FBSS or “Post Laminectomy Syndrome,” is a broad term that refers to any and all chronic pain that occurs after a patient has undergone any type of spine surgery aimed at reducing pain in the neck, back, or legs.
It is such a broad term, that nearly any type of pain or discomfort that is not related to the recovery process may be considered failed back surgery. That is why FBSS doesn’t necessarily have “symptoms” that make diagnosis easy. If you have chronic pain of any kind related to your spine, then you likely have FBSS.
Symptoms of FBSS – What to Look For
There are dozens of different types of spine surgeries. There are also surgeries for the back (lumbar), neck (cervical), and thoracic sections of the spine. There are also age and lifestyle factors that can contribute to back pain complications, along with different types of hardware that may break down, procedures that are not performed correctly, misdiagnoses, and so much more.
It is with that in mind that any moderate to severe pain after neck or back surgery could be considered failed back surgery syndrome. Clinically, there are many different sensations that could be considered symptoms of FBSS, including:
- Recurrence of the same pain that the patient experienced before surgery.
- Recurrence of new pain that occurs in the same or a new location after surgery.
- Difficulty moving/restricted mobility, especially in the area the surgery was performed.
- Sharp pain, dull pain, radiating pain, or gradually increasing pain.
- Severe headache, starting a few days after surgery that goes away when laying down.
- Dependence on pain medications to manage discomfort.
- Numbness, tingling (pins and needles), or weakness in the legs, back, neck, arms, and hips.
Keep in mind that, with so many different issues that can cause pain and failed back surgery, you may experience all or none of the above symptoms.
For example, severe headache tends to affect those with dural tears. Severe, sudden, shooting pain is more common with recurrent herniated discs. Slowly developing pain in another part of the spine is more likely with adjacent disc disease.
Each individual symptom you experience tells a story that, when combined with diagnostic imaging and consultation, can help determine what the cause of the failed back surgery syndrome may be.
Next Steps After FBSS Symptoms
If you have any chronic pain or discomfort after back surgery, or if you feel that you have symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome, the next step is determining the cause. Spine Center Atlanta is a nationally recognized leader in failed back surgery revisions and treatments, and we are happy to see both local and non-local patients that feel their back or neck pain is recurring.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment to talk about your symptoms, please call 404-620-5523 today. Dr. Chappuis and his team are highly regarded experts in FBSS treatments, and are happy to take on your case and see what non-surgical and surgical treatments are available.