Failed MIS – Spine Center Atlanta

Failed MIS

Failed Minimally Invasive Fusion (Stabilization)

Overview And Treatments For Failed Mis

Traditionally, most surgery for chronic neck, leg, and back pain have been open surgeries. They require a larger incision to give the surgeon full access to the spine. But in an effort to decrease the risk of infection and improve healing times, some surgeons have begun integrating “minimally invasive” interventions into their practice.

Minimally invasive surgery is surgery performed with very small incisions, along with special tools such as endoscopes that do not require the surgeon’s hands have access to the spine. Some patients do well with a minimally invasive approach. But some patients find that they still experience pain after minimally invasive spine stabilization, including:

Failed Minimally Invasive Fusion (Stabilization) Diagram
  • Rapid Worsening Pain
  • Similar Pain that Develops Slowly Over Time
  • New Pains, Unlike Those Previously Experienced

If you experience any type of pain after spine surgery, whether or not it is similar to the pain you experienced previously, your minimally invasive spinal fusion may have failed, and often that means that a new treatment is required.


Because pain can develop for many different reasons, each patient’s case has to be reviewed separately to try to determine the exact cause of failure. For example, surgical error may cause failed minimally invasive spinal stabilization (MISS), and in some cases a patient may simply not have been a good candidate for the surgery.

Similarly, minimally invasive fusion may be used to treat many different spinal conditions, including:

  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Recurrent Herniated Discs, and More

Depending on the cause of your original back, leg, or neck pain, the cause of your failed MIS may also differ. However, most failed minimally invasive fusions and spine surgeries fail for the following reasons:

  • Inadequate Nerve Decompression
  • Failed Fusion (Bones Did Not Fuse Together)
  • Incomplete Disc Removal
  • Misalignment Of The Spine.
  • Adjacent Segment Disease, And More.

Dural tears are also a rare risk that is increased in patients that undergo MISS. Although minimally invasive fusion can be effective, surgeons do often find that full access to the spine improves their success rate as well, as it tends to make it easier to avoid errors and examine the spine effectively.

Treatment For Failed Mis

Failed minimally invasive stabilization can be treated. But a proper diagnosis is critical, as treatments may differ greatly depending on the source of the pain. For patients that do not have a clear structural issue in the spine, the surgeon may recommend exploring non-surgical options to determine if there is a treatment that may manage the issue effectively.

If there is a structural issue resulting from spine surgery, a revision surgery may be recommended. The type of surgery will relate directly to the cause of the pain. Patients with failed fusion may be better candidates for ALIF, for example, which addresses spinal fusion from the front of the abdomen. Patients with nerve compression may be candidates for minimally invasive decompression.

Each treatment is based on the symptoms that are leading to your back pain. Here at Spine Center Atlanta, a nationally recognized leader in failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) treatments, Dr. Chappuis, Dr. Petilon and his surgical team look at all possible diagnostic tools to better determine the cause of your pain, and determine a treatment that is more likely to be successful. For more information, please call us today at 404-351-5812.

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