What is Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

Back surgery is a major ailment that has been causing a lot of pain and misery to people. Back pain is very common and affects majority of people. Although some simple cures like traction, physiotherapy or alternates like Yoga and acupuncture can provide relief and cure in certain cases, in case of chronic and severe pain in the back, legs etc, back surgery is the most common solution.

Back surgery is performed to correct damaged discs or to remove causes of pain like cases where the discs are pinching a set of nerves. Although a lot of back surgeries are being performed all around the world, some of them fail and lead to what is commonly called Failed back surgery syndrome. Failed back surgery syndrome is not actually a syndrome but a term used for a where a person has experienced a failed back surgery, and the syndrome is caused as the initial problems for which the person went for the surgery are not completely solved.

Failed Back surgery syndrome is a unique name, as we don’t experience such a case or term in other surgeries like ear surgery etc. Back surgery in itself is slightly different as it does not actually cure the pain by getting rid of it, but tries to do so, by removing or curing the causes of the pain. For example, in some cases degenerated discs from the spine are removed and bone grafts from the hip are used to replace them, although in more advanced surgeries new genetically engineered protein that induce bone growth are used. Also in cases where nerve pinching is the problem, the surgery tries to remove the cause of pain by making sure that the nerve joint is decompressed.

It is this kind of difference in back surgery, that is the most common cause of Failed back surgery syndrome. Failed back surgery syndrome occurs in cases where the doctor has not made a correct initial diagnosis of the cause of the pain in the first place. Some times scar tissue growth from the surgery might cause some pain after the surgery. In other cases, it is common that the patient experiences pain in the place from which bone was removed for grafting (normally from the hip).

These pains should not be confused with a failed back surgery syndrome, but if the pain continues after a couple of weeks, doctor visit is required. If a patient does not experience any change or decrease in the pain (for which the surgery was performed) after 4-8 weeks of the surgery, it might point to a case of failed back surgery syndrome and test and check-up are necessary to find out whether the surgery failed to remove the cause of the pain.


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