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Failed Back Surgery – FBSS

Unique to back pain, failed back surgery syndrome, or FBSS, is a term used to describe instances when a patient does not experience relief from symptoms they had prior to surgery after their operation. Surgeons do make every effort to pinpoint the true source of back pain. However, no back surgery is more than 95 percent predictive of a successful outcome. If surgery is unsuccessful, another form of pain management may be necessary.

Causes

The main reason for back surgery that does not treat a patient’s pain is often because the initial procedure did not address the true source of the discomfort. Possible reasons for FBSS include muscle deconditioning, degeneration of adjacent facet joints, scar tissue, undetected disc herniation, or nerve compression at another location.

Since pain is subjective by nature, it’s often difficult to confirm with absolute certainty that an identified source is the only possible reason for a patient’s reported pain. Although back surgery is only performed if there is at least one possible cause that has been identified through image testing. FBSS may also result from:

  • Preoperative nerve damage that did not heal
  • Nerve damage that occurs during surgery
  • Inadequate decompression of a nerve root
  • Degeneration spreading to an adjacent level
  • Spinal fusions that never form following surgery

Symptoms

It’s not always clear that back surgery has failed immediately after a procedure since there will almost always be some degree of discomfort during the initial healing process. Additionally, post-surgery medication may mask pain that’s still coming from a secondary source.

If pain or discomfort continues beyond the initial healing period, which is usually the first 2-3 weeks following surgery, it may be a sign that surgery was not successful. Symptoms often associated with FBSS include:

  • Dull, aching pain in the previously affected area
  • Pain experienced in a different area of the back
  • Sharp or sudden pain that occurs with movement
  • Radiating pain felt in the arms or legs

Treatments

For patients not wishing to rush into another surgery, which isn’t recommended in some cases, another option is to consider chiropractic care. Chiropractic care alone includes a combination of techniques that can treat both muscle and joint issues and nerve problems.

Alternative pain management treatments like acupuncture also produce positive results for some patients. Pain management in the form of nutrition recommendations and dietary adjustments can also benefit patients who’ve experienced a failed back procedure. Treatment for FBSS may also include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Physiotherapy involving mechanical force and movements
  • Psychotherapy

The purpose of spine surgery is to correct an anatomical issue with a structure in the back that’s pressing on nerves. FBSS occurs when there turns out to be another contributing factor to the pain beyond what was identified. Since there are many non-surgical treatments available, patients may find meaningful relief by trying other options not previously explored.

Contact Allied Pain & Spine Institute today to schedule a consultation.

Our Patient Reviews

Allied Pain & Spine Institute

5.0

Based on 8 reviews

Michelle T.

I fly in to see Dr. Petros from Southern California.  I wouldn't do so if he wasn't the best there is.  He is compassionate and has always treated me kindly. I can tell he is sincere in the way he talks to me and is diligently looking for solutions that work best with me and my chronic pain needs.  Very out of the box approach, which I appreciate these days!  I would truly recommend Dr. Petros to anyone looking for a Dr. that not only cares about you as a patient but has the confidence and skill set to get results! His office staff is friendly and caring too.  Allied Pain and Spine Institute is the Gold Standard in pain care in my humble opinion!! When I find a doctor that understands the issue and always goes above and beyond to help me, I do what I can to continue seeing them. I am so glad I found this office!!

Louise W.

Dr Petros is amazing!  When he uses a needle his aim is "right on".  He is also very personable, an altogether great guy.  I always find my visits to him to be very informative. I have had both sides of my degenerated back injected (epidural shots) with complete success.  He allows me to have no sedative, which is cool because his jokes and stories in the operating room are really good.  He greatly enjoys his work, and enjoys the difficult challenges of getting a needle into the right place in my back.  My arthritic knee is perhaps more straight-forward, but other doctors have failed to give me pain relief.  Dr Petros studies the structure with ultrasound before injecting it.  The result - instant relief! On my recent visit for a broken back (ski accident) the doctor and staff were very accomodating to help me make a dinner engagement shortly after my appointment.  This is definitely a five-star operation!

Ellie O.

Wow, wonderful doctor!!! I avoid all the doctors like the plague...seriously it makes my blood pressure go up when I have to go but I chose Dr. Vaidya. My friend referred him to me, he's simply the best... TOP NOTCH!!! He turned out to be a breath of fresh air. Dr. Vaidya really stands out head and shoulders above everyone else. I usually don't write reviews but he's so outstanding that I really wanted to do it for him. He's the most honest and caring doctor I have met.  He listens and gives you full attention and committed to find the best individual solution for you. He always goes out of his way to get you the most appropriate treatment and he will make it happen. He's very knowledgeable in his field. He's very professional, friendly, personable and definitely easy to talk to. His integrity is very valuable. He's one of the sharpest and most driven individuals you will ever meet.

Keith M.

Simply the best doctors and staff in the area. I've fought back and neck pain for over 30 years, and Dr. Petros and his team have kept me from the operating table and able to enjoy my life. I've had injections, acupuncture, as well as back braces. He listens to my concerns, cares very deeply for my pain and discomfort, and has successfully treated everything from stenosis, pinched nerves, herniated disks, and even helped me with the symptoms from shingles and lung disease. I couldn't be happier with the care he has given me over the years.

Kaitlin Z.

Dr. Vaidya has changed my life. I am in my late 20s with chronic pain and nothing had worked until I came here. All services here are wonderful and the staff is absolutely amazing. I can't recommend enough!!

Tracy B.

I have been a patient of Dr. Vaidya for a few years after not getting what I needed from other spine and pain doctors. I was looking for a doctor who would think outside the box and come up with some other ways to treat my growing amount of pain. Between Dr. Petros and Dr. Vaidya, they have brought me to a place where my pain is better managed. And let's just talk about bedside manners! I have never met doctors in the past 23 years of this back journey of mine that has as amazing bedside manners as these guys. I have cried and laughed with the team at Allied Spine. The way that I am always greeted and promptly cared for is bar none! The front office staff, and especially Nas, has been a God sent. I would never go anywhere else.

Justin P.

I am a new patient of DR Petros and my experience was great for my first two visits so far. He really takes time to listen to your issues and provides thorough answers and treatment options. The front desk staff are all very nice and respond in a timely manner to requests. Highly recommended all around!

Lisa A.

I have seen Dr. Vaidya for about 2 years. He is an amazing doctor.the attention and care you receive is well over 5 stars. He knows who I am by my face, he knows my health history with out looking in my chart, he remembers conversations we have had at previous appointments. He truly cares for his patients. I will be moving our of state, and will travel back here each month to see doctor Vaidya. I lost my insurance over a year ago and pay out of pocket to see the doctor, it is worth every penny to be treated with respect, as a person and with care. I love all the staff and feel like I am visiting family when I come in for my appointments.

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