Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS), also known as post-laminectomy syndrome, is a general term that describes persistent pain and discomfort from a failed spine surgery. Although most spine surgeries are performed to reduce or eliminate chronic pain caused by damaged or herniated discs, spine surgeries, much like any other surgical procedure, have the potential to fail. More often, however, patients recover without any complications.
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (Post-laminectomy Syndrome) Causes
Failed back surgery syndrome is a complex condition, so there are many forms and variations it can assume. Additionally, there may be a wide variety of causes, and some of the most common may include:
- Scar tissue formation
- Recurrent disc herniation
- Structural changes below spinal fusion
- Spinal disc fragments still remaining
- Inadequate recovery from surgery
- Post-operative damage to area surrounding the surgical site
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (Post-laminectomy Syndrome) Symptoms
The most common symptom patients experience is back pain around the surgical site along with shooting, dull, aching, or sharp leg pains. During an examination, patients may also complain of tenderness at the site of surgery; increased difficulty performing normal, daily activities; difficulty sleeping; and possible depression or anxiety. Depression and anxiety, while not a physical indicator, could still lead to a FBSS diagnosis when taking other symptoms into account.