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Answers to the three most common failed back surgery syndrome questions

After being diagnosed with failed back surgery syndrome, it’s normal to have a number of questions about what you can expect and where you’ll go from here. For many individuals, an unsuccessful back surgery means taking a step back to focus again on conservative treatments, such as medications and physical therapy. For other individuals, a second surgery is still an option, although one that requires a great deal of careful consideration. If you believe that a previous procedure may have failed, USA Spine Care can help you determine your next steps.

How do you know if your back surgery failed?

It can take several weeks or months to determine if an operation is successful. In the case of a spinal fusion, it may take a year or more for the process to be entirely complete. While a noticeable improvement in pain is the desired result, some people find that their pain is still present (or in rare situations, worse) after their procedures. Shortly after your surgery, your treatment team can perform any necessary imaging scans and discuss your symptoms with you to see how your recovery is progressing.

What causes a back surgery to fail?

Several different factors can cause failed back surgery syndrome. For instance, some spinal material may have gone unremoved, allowing nerve root compression and the resulting symptoms to persist after surgery. If recovery instructions were not carefully followed, physical overexertion could have interfered with the healing process. An improper diagnosis may have led to the incorrect disc or joint being targeted. Or, a disc could re-herniate after an otherwise successful first surgery. In any of these situations, the outcome of a surgery may not have been the desired result.

What treatment options are available?

The initial approach to treatment — as is often the case with any type of neck or back pain — often focuses on nonsurgical management. Some people with a failed back surgery do return to medications, physical therapy and other former treatment options with great success. However, depending on the cause of the issue and any new symptoms that may have developed as a result, a secondary surgery may be recommended instead.

At USA Spine Care, we offer a safer and effective alternative to open back procedures^ that many individuals choose when they are considering a secondary back surgery. If you’ve been diagnosed with failed back surgery syndrome and would like to find out if you are a candidate for our procedures, contact USA Spine Care today.

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