Learn About Treatments for Failed Back SurgeryFailed back surgery syndrome, or FBSS, only occurs in those patients who have experienced a laminectomy, or surgical removal of the lamina, a piece of a bone that is located in the spine. This surgical procedure is for those who suffer from sciatica, and performed when the there is a disc bulge present. By removing the lamina, the hope is that the pressure will be relieved from the nerve. However, sometimes this surgical procedure will not have the desired results, and the patient will continue to have sciatic pain. Sometimes, the patient will also experience numbness and tingling post surgery. When this occurs, the patient is then diagnosed as suffering from post-laminectomy or failed back surgery syndrome.
While the best treatment for this syndrome is prevention, there needs to be treatment options for those who experience this syndrome.
According to Raj (2008), spinal cord stimulation is a technique that has been seen to alleviate pain due to post-laminectomy syndrome. A recent study showed favorable results toward spinal cord stimulation over repeating the surgical procedure. Spinal cord stimulation, or SCS, for those with post-laminectomy syndrome showed a reduction in prescription pain medications, an improvement in quality of life and increase in function. SCS is known by pain experts as the “pacemaker for pain,” and has been used successfully for a variation of different pain conditions.
Another treatment that has been successful in alleviating pain due to post-laminectomy syndrome is the Racz Procedure, or Lysis of Adhesions. This treatment is used if the pain from the failed back surgery is caused by scar tissue. By eradicating this scar tissue, the patient will usually see an improvement in pain, as the scar tissue will no longer be placing pressure on the nerves and causing pain. Scar tissue due to spinal surgery is actually fairly common, and the Racz procedure, or adhesiolysis, is the most useful procedure for removing this painful scar tissue.
Some physicians will also try to treat failed back surgery syndrome conservatively, with non invasive treatments. Prescription of medications may be advised to the patient, and may include any type of medication, from prescription pain medications, to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (known as NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Other treatments that may be suggested or recommended by your physician may include chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, or biofeedback. Some physicians may also recommend corticosteroid injections.
ReferencesRaj, (2008) Raj’s Practical Management of Pain.415. (Benzon, Rathmell, Wu, Turk, Argoff Eds.)Philadelphia: Mosby Elsevier
Waldman, S.D. (2007) Pain Management, Volume II. 324-325. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier