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What to do after a failed back surgery

If you have recently undergone open back surgery and are experiencing pain and other symptoms that you think may be related to failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS), there are steps you can take to ensure that you will ultimately be able to experience the symptom relief you are looking for. First, however, it’s important to understand your condition, including its causes, symptoms and treatment options.

Failed back surgery syndrome is a term used to describe the condition of someone who has undergone open spine surgery and either didn’t experience the expected symptom relief or has developed new symptoms because of the procedure. Some of the potential causes of FBSS can include the failure of the surgeon to decompress a nerve, scar tissue that has caused new nerve compression, spinal fusion failure or an implant that has shifted.

Diagnosing FBSS

Failed back surgery syndrome can produce a variety of symptoms that can be localized to the affected area of the spine or can travel along a nerve pathway to other areas of the body. Common FBSS symptoms, which are often similar to the symptoms produced by the original condition, include:

  • Chronic pain or pain that radiates to the extremities
  • Muscle spasms
  • Joint stiffness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness and tingling

If you want to determine whether you are suffering from FBSS or just experiencing symptoms that are a normal part of the recovery process following back surgery, it’s important that you see your doctor and share your concerns. He or she will likely perform a physical exam and schedule an imaging procedure to evaluate your symptoms and determine if FBSS is the cause.

Treatment options

If your physician confirms that failed back surgery syndrome is the source of your discomfort, he or she will most likely suggest you try conservative treatment for several weeks or months. If this doesn’t produce the desired level of relief, you may want to contact USA Spine Care for a free MRI review* to determine if you are a candidatefor our minimally invasive spine surgery. Our outpatient procedures require less than a 1-inch incision, utilize muscle-sparing techniques and are a safer and effective alternative to open back surgery.^

Contact USA Spine Care today if you would like to learn more.

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