This condition, also called "failed back syndrome,"
is a type of chronic pain. It can develop in some
people after spine surgery.
This pain most often develops after a laminectomy
procedure. This is the removal of bone at the rear
of your vertebrae. The procedure is done to relieve
pressure on your spinal nerves. But after a
laminectomy, bone or soft tissue may still press on
these nerves. Scar tissue may form. And spinal
joints may be irritated and inflamed. Pain from any
of these issues may be called "post-laminectomy
Symptoms may include pain in your back at the site
of your surgery. The pain may also radiate down to
your buttock and leg. This pain may feel sharp, or it
may feel dull and achy.
Treatment depends on the cause and the severity
of your pain. The most important, and at times challenging part of the treatment is accurate diagnosis. A NorTex provider may need to perform diagnostic blocks to zero in the exact source of pain. Options may include medications, therapeutic injections or physical therapy. You may benefit from electrical nerve stimulation called spinal cord stimulation or other techniques. At times, unfortunately another surgery would be indicated. However, we highly recommend exhausting non surgical options whenever possible, prior to second spine surgeries.
Watch the video description below
Post Laminectomy OR Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
From Dr. G.'s Office
There are very few thing in the world that are more frustrating than going through an invasive, painful, stressful, expensive back surgery; and find out later that the problem is not resolved.
Very often, patient's are confused, stressed, depressed and angry at the situation, at the spine surgeon, at the friend who recommended that "Back Surgeon", or even at themselves for "Letting that happen to them".
While it is best to consult a Fellowship Trained and Board Certified Interventional Pain Physician PRIOR to having a spine surgery; as the saying goes "Better Late than Never".
The most crucial step in a patient having issues after back surgery is to find out whether the pain is from the surgery itself, whether the surgery address the issue (adequate decompression) whether the surgery is maturing well, whether it is complication or side effect of surgery (scar tissue).
Even more important, the question is whether the pain is coming from where the back surgery was done or whether it is originating from a different area such as lumbar or cervical facet joints or the sacroiliac joint.
At NorTex, we emphasize on making the correct diagnosis first; and then explaining the source of the problem in layman's terms. More often than not, understanding the problem as well as treatment options is the best tool to decreased anxiety, confusion and result in reasonable expectations.
The first step in reviewing any spine related problems is to understand the anatomy of spine and it's structures.
In other pages of this website, we have put together a brief description of the spine conditions and their treatment options as well as videos to help understand this rather complex and marvelous structure of the body.
Omid Ghalambor, MD