Failed Back Surgery Syndrome Specialist

Brain and Spine Institute of New York and New Jersey

Neurosurgeon located in East Brunswick, NJ

If you’ve already undergone surgery to resolve issues with your spine but still experience chronic pain and dysfunction, you likely have failed back syndrome. This condition describes an unsuccessful result with back or spine surgery. At Brain and Spine Institute of New York and New Jersey, Arien Smith, MD, FACS, offers treatments and revision surgery, if warranted, to help you find a solution to your pain. Call one of the offices in East Brunswick or Bayonne, New Jersey, or in New York City in Bayside, Queens, or Midtown East, Manhattan. You can also schedule an appointment online today.

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

What is failed back syndrome?

If you’ve previously undergone spinal surgery and it failed to ease your pain and issues with movement, you have failed back syndrome. It’s not really a “syndrome,” but a description of a failed treatment that didn’t resolve persistent, debilitating pain.

A surgery may have failed because the techniques and technology used to perform your surgery were outdated. Other reasons for a failed surgery include:

  • Post-surgical complications
  • Improper diagnosis
  • Improper surgical strategy

In some cases, a back surgery was appropriate and technically successful, but diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and peripheral artery disease cause complications that make the procedure ineffective.

What symptoms indicate failed back syndrome?

Signs that your surgery wasn’t the right treatment for your condition or that the technique failed include:

  • Recurrent nerve pain following decompression procedures
  • Scar formation around the incision
  • Failure of a fusion to resolve pain
  • Broken or painful hardware
  • Loss of natural curvature
  • Fracture or disc slippage after spine surgery

The primary goal of spinal surgery is to reduce your pain and restore function. If these objectives aren’t met and you still experience considerable dysfunction, you have failed back syndrome.

What are the treatments for failed back syndrome?

The goal of your treatment is to have you be able to resume normal activities, including work, exercise, hobbies, travel, and family time.

Treatment depends on your particular case and could involve revision surgery. Other treatments include:

Spinal cord stimulator

A spinal cord stimulator is implanted under your skin and controlled using a handheld device. The implant delivers electrical pulses to your spinal cord. These pulses interfere with the pain signals that travel from your nerves to your brain, reducing or eliminating back pain.

Pain pumps

A pain pump delivers medication directly to your spinal cord. A small pump is surgically placed just under the skin of your abdomen and sends medication through a thin tube to the area around your spinal cord.

Because the medication is delivered straight to your point of pain and doesn’t have to go through your digestive tract, you get immediate relief with smaller doses than might be required orally. This helps reduce medication side effects while effectively improving your comfort levels. 

If you’re suffering continued back pain despite having had spine surgery, contact Brain and Spine Institute of New York and New Jersey by phone or online today.