Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Sep 7, 2017 | Blog

Spinal surgery is not always a viable solution to back pain. In fact, between 5-50% of patients’ experience pain after surgery, a condition known as Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, also known as FBSS. Failed back surgery syndrome is not actually a syndrome, but a generalized term used for patients who have had an unsuccessful back surgery and continue to experience pain post-surgery. There are a variety of reasons one might experience a failed back surgery. Even with the best surgeons available, back pain issues can be challenging to resolve.

The true prevalence of failed back surgery syndrome is not accurately known, and estimates believe it is experienced by patients somewhere between 5-50% of the time for those who undergo spinal surgery. We do know some of the factors that can lead to failed back surgery syndrome which are:

  • Recurrent disc herniation
  • Compressed nerves
  • Altered joint mobility
  • Scar tissue
  • Muscle deconditioning
  • Degeneration of facet or sacroiliac joints
  • Or anatomical issues that remain uncorrected


Possible Causes

Several factors, beyond anatomical issues such as spinal instability can affect the surgical outcome. Diabetes, autoimmune disease, and peripheral vascular disease are all potential conditions that can result in failed back surgery syndrome.

Psychological issues such as depression and anxiety can play a role in the the body’s healing process as well as excessive inflammation leading to unfavorable outcomes.

Having a comprehensive “healing team” comprised of physicians experienced in effective pain management, mobility post-surgery, and nutritional counseling are all important aspects for effective healing.

Treatment Options

For one experiencing FBSS, repeated surgery is typically not advised as it is often less successful than the initial surgery. However, each case it unique, and for some patients, a repeated surgery may be appropriate. For those whom repeat surgery is not recommended, pain management physicians become a central part of individuals care teams’ post-surgery to mitigate pain management and improve quality of life.

Comprehensive Pain Physicians have a variety of minimally invasive tools to pull from when treating patients experiencing FBSS such as:

  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Blocks
  • Radiofrequency neuroblation
  • Spinal cord stimulation

The above listed therapies, utilized in conjunction to physical therapy, often lead to improved quality of life. By utilizing the expertise of Comprehensive Pain Physicians, patients are oftentimes able to reduce their reliance on opioids and regain independence.

Learn More

Our physicians are among top-tier doctors offering comprehensive pain management for patients experiencing Failed Back Surgery Syndrome in the greater Los Angeles area. To ensure this program is a good fit for you, we have designed a cutting-edge diagnostic evaluation protocol, ensuring this is the best treatment to find successful pain relief and regeneration of mobility. We accept most insurance plans and have comprehensive financing options. For more information, call our office today to set-up an appointment, (818) 325-2088.


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