Understanding the Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Procedures

Feb 01, 2021

According to conducted research, almost 40% of back surgeries fail. This trend has been so common that the term “failed back surgery syndrome” was developed to refer to this condition.

For anyone who has previously undergone spinal surgery but still experiences recurrent or persistent symptoms, the chances are that the individual’s procedure was a failed one. Persons with failed back surgery syndrome get better for some time, but their spinal health starts to worsen again. In some cases, the patient feels like the symptoms haven’t gotten any better after the surgery, while some report feeling worse than ever.

Nevertheless, there are cases where back surgery becomes a necessary procedure, especially when the patient suffers from serious nerve compression or musculoskeletal injuries, and other therapy options have failed to address the problem.

Woodway Rehab and Wellness is one of the rehabilitation centers in Houston that offers back pain management and consultation services. For instance, our medical expert can guide you in making the right decision, such as whether to opt for the surgical approach or not. Call our offices and book your appointment today. Our staff will be glad to receive you and give you the care you deserve.

When Is Back Surgery Considered?

Based on the research conducted by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, persons suffering from any of the conditions below can opt for back surgery:

  • Ruptured or herniated disks where the disks cushioning the spine’s bones get damaged
  • Vertebral fractures as a result of suffering from osteoporosis or spinal injury
  • Spinal stenosis, a condition that causes one’s spinal column to become narrow, thus putting pressure on their spinal nerves and spinal cord
  • Damaged spinal disks

Back Surgery Procedures

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, there are various surgical procedures that can be done to alleviate lower back pain. However, NINDS warns that it is difficult to determine what procedure will work efficiently for a specific condition as there are little pieces of evidence that show this. Examples of back surgery include:

  • Discectomy
  • Spinal decompression or spinal laminectomy
  • Foraminotomy
  • Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty
  • Spinal fusion
  • Plasma-disk decompression

Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

After spine surgery, both the medical staff and the surgeon on your case will help you in your recovery. For most people, the recovery period is long and also challenging. Experiencing some pain after undergoing spinal surgery is something that is common. This makes it difficult for most patients to know whether the pain is a part of the recovery or FBBS.

To be on the lookout, here is a list of the various types of neck and back pain that people with failed back surgery syndrome experience:

  • Chronic pain– This refers to a sustained and significant pain felt for a period longer than four months.
  • Neuropathic pain – The only way a patient is going to develop neuropathy is when their spinal cord or nerves are damaged.
  • Nociceptive pain – It refers to a sharp or dull localized pain.
  • Radicular pain – This is pain that gets radiated from one body part to another, i.e., from the back down to the butt, legs, or feet like sciatica.

Other FBBS symptoms include:

  • Reduced mobility – During the healing process following spine surgery, your body’s flexibility and movement will likely be affected. However, movement limitations or reduced mobility that develops later on after recovery, such as limited neck movement, are usually unexpected.
  • Rise of new problems – New pain felt after spine surgery warrants to be reviewed by a medical professional.
  • The return of the original symptoms – When your initial symptoms that were supposed to be corrected by the surgery come back, you possibly have FBBS.
  • Headaches – If you develop headaches that weren’t there before you went for surgery, there is a possibility that you may have a nerve issue, mostly if it’s your cervical spine that was operated on.

There are certain specific symptoms that a patient who has undergone back surgery may develop, and should you notice either one of them, seek emergency treatment as soon as possible. They are:

  • Unintentional or unexplained weight loss, vomiting, or fever
  • Loss of bladder or bowel function- These two may sign a severe spine disorder known as Cauda Equina Syndrome that affects spinal nerves.
  • Difficulty walking or electric-like pain that is felt in the lower body

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