Re-do Spinal Surgery

Back surgery has a very good success rate if the diagnosis that led to it was sound.  While many patients will have complete resolution of their symptoms, some will have incomplete results and a few will have residual dysfunction maybe even worsening.  These few patients will continue to present with chronic pain even after surgery.  Ten to 30 per cent of spinal fusion surgeries fail with patients getting worse instead of better. The reasons for failure may include broken screws or other hardware, residual or progressive spinal stenosis, and spinal instability among others.
Failed back syndrome is a common name for a condition present in certain patients that have suboptimal results following back surgery.  In some cases this leads to a revision spine surgery to correct or improve failed results.

Reasons for failed back syndrome include:

  • Incorrect diagnosis
  • Developing scar tissue around the nerves
  • Poor or incomplete intra-operative technique
  • Intra-operative complications
  • Failure to correct structural / biomechanical abnormalities
  • Incomplete decompression of the nerves, or sac of nerves

If the patient’s presenting condition does not resolve or improve in 3-6 months, it is generally considered that the operation was not successful.  When spinal surgery is unsuccessful, patients may endure years of chronic pain and dysfunction while seeking treatments including  physical therapy, injections even taking narcotics chronically.  For some of these patients, the last thing they might want, may be the answer to their issues.  If a diagnosis can be made that suggest that nerves remain compressed, or there is abnormal movement occurring between the bones, or there has been a hardware malfunction, then revision spine surgery may help.
One of our passions is helping this population of patients who suffer from surgically treatable failed back syndrome.  To determine if you may have a treatable issue, after taking a detailed history, we will need a number of diagnostic studies before being able to determine if you have a problem that might be correctable with further surgery.