When Neck Pain Returns After Surgery
You rely on the strength and movement of your neck every day. That is why neck pain is so hard to ignore. Chronic neck pain can be debilitating, which is why thousands of men and women elect to undergo neck surgery as a way to relieve the pain.
Yet for some patients, neck surgery is not enough. After recovery, the pain may come back, or new pain may develop in the neck. This is known as “failed neck surgery” and unfortunately it is a risk that affects a large percentage of those that undergo surgery of the neck and cervical spine.
About Failed Neck Surgery Syndrome
Failed neck surgery syndrome (which may be referred to as “failed back surgery syndrome” of the neck), is loosely defined as the recurrence of pain in or near the area of the neck that the surgery was supposed to help eliminate. In other words, if you have any moderate to severe pain of any kind after the surgery is over, the neck surgery is said to have “failed.”
Although neck surgery does not have a high failure rate, it is also not necessarily rare. Failure rate estimates vary from between 5% and 25% failure rate, and some experts believe that it may be more when including those that have moderate pain, but not severe pain.
All surgery carries the risk of pain after recovery, which is why there are many different types of failed neck surgery, including:
- Failed Neck Fusion
- Failed ACDF
- Failed Artificial Discs
- Failed Cervical Cage
Complicating the matter is that there is no specific cause for all patients. Each patient with failed neck surgery has to be looked at independently, to determine what may have caused their particular FNSS, and thus what can be done to improve it.
Causes Of Failed Neck Surgery
As spine, back, and neck specialists, the issues that lead to the development of failed neck surgery syndrome can vary considerably, depending on the type of procedure, the cause of the neck pain, the surgeon, and much more. We strongly recommend coming in for an evaluation, as Dr. James Chappuis, Dr. Julio Petilon, and the team here at Spine Center Atlanta are nationally recognized for their failed spine surgery syndrome diagnoses and treatments.
However, the cause of failed neck surgery tends to fall into several common categories:
- Surgical Error
- Hardware Failure
- Scar Tissue Development
- Bone Graft Rejection and More
We thoroughly explore the possible causes on our failed neck surgery causes page, but most recurring pain is related to the above issues.
Failed neck surgery syndrome doesn’t have a formal definition, so the symptoms are more subjective than objective. The purpose of neck surgery is to relieve pain, so the primary symptom of failed neck surgery is the presence of pain after recovery. On our failed neck surgery symptoms page, we explore some of the other “symptoms” of this type of condition, and what it means for treatment.
Diagnosis Of Failed Neck Surgery
For those that experience moderate to severe chronic pain in the neck or back after surgery, then you are considered to be diagnosed with failed neck surgery. But although the term may be broad, diagnosis of the cause of the issue is precise. We can find the exact reason that your spine surgery failed. What our spine and neck experts look at are:
- Repeat imaging, reviewed by our entire staff.
- Electromyography studies.
- Thorough clinical examination.
- Your entire medical history
- Length of time before the development of pain.
You can read more about how we diagnose the cause of failed neck surgery, and then what we use to determine what treatment will work best.
Treatment Of Failed Neck Surgery
Failed neck surgery treatments are not unlike the initial treatment of neck pain. First, Dr. Chappuis and the staff see if there are any non-surgical interventions that may be effective at reducing or eliminating pain altogether.
Revision neck surgery is considered a last resort, but if it is required to help alleviate pain, then the surgery is performed only when the expert staff at Spine Center Atlanta has identified the exact cause of the recurring neck pain and can perform the surgery with confidence that the pain will be reduced and eliminated.
You can find out more about treatments on our failed neck surgery treatment page.
Yet before any treatment, proper evaluation is key. Patients from all over the country come to Spine Center Atlanta specifically because Dr. Chappuis, Dr. Petilon, and the rest of the staff have been involved in proper back and neck surgery treatments, and have a thorough understanding of how to identify and eliminate failed neck surgery syndrome.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment with our team, please call us today at 404-351-5812.