New Solutions in Redding, California
Back surgery is an elective operation (barring medical emergencies) to help ease pain. It is performed after a series of diagnostic tests and, more often than not, other non-surgical pain management therapies. But what if the surgery doesn’t have the expected outcome? This is known in the medical community as failed back surgery syndrome, or FBSS.
What is Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?
It’s important to note that the term failed back surgery syndrome doesn’t actually imply that there was a problem during surgery, or even that the surgery was necessarily unsuccessful. FBSS is most simply defined as a condition of continued pain after back surgery, but the International Association for the Study of Pain defines it as “lumbar spinal pain of unknown origin either persisting despite surgical intervention or appearing after surgical intervention for spinal pain originally in the same topographical location.” In some cases, surgery may fix one component of the pain, while another issue surfaces. From the straightforward definition to the more complex, it is a disheartening diagnosis after a patient has worked to heal from a minor or major back surgery.
Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
It’s common to experience soreness and stiffness after back surgery, especially without the right treatment and care, so how do patients know if they have FBSS? This isn’t your average post-op discomfort: FBSS is most often characterized by chronic pain (three months or longer) that won’t let up or has elevated in intensity. Once diagnosed, patients will receive a treatment plan that can include therapies ranging from lifestyle modifications and exercise to medication and revision back surgery.
Patients and physicians may seek alternative solutions to this ongoing pain in a few different scenarios: if physical therapy doesn’t yield results; patients want to manage their pain beyond medication; or another surgery is out of the question. That’s where interventional pain management comes in.
Interventional Pain Management As an Option
Led by expert Dr. Monroe, the interventional pain management program at Shasta Orthopaedics is an advanced and multidisciplinary approach that uses injections and other minimally invasive procedures to help alleviate pain from various conditions, including FBSS.
One of the most popular treatments is spinal cord stimulation, a minimally invasive procedure that can offer prolonged relief. This small implantable device counteracts pain signals along the spine with small electrical currents, and has shown greater results (at a lower cost) than revision back surgery in clinical trials. Failed back surgery syndrome is not a simple problem, so it needs a comprehensive approach including a multidisciplinary team and the latest technology.