Failed back syndrome is a common name for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome. It describes a condition present on certain patients that have bad results following a back surgery. In some cases this leads to a revision spine surgery to correct failed results.
Back surgery has a very good success rate around 95%, but this is applied to a few thousand new patients every year. Some patients will continue to present chronic pain even after surgery. The surgeon might incorrectly identify the target tissue, or had to operate based on a less precise diagnostic.
Other factors include :
- Developing scar tissue around the incision
- Poor surgeon technique
- Use of surgery when not needed
- Lower patient surgery fitness
- Incorrect or poor diagnosis
- Procedure complications
Faulty back surgery will expose the patients to years of chronic pains and even undesired neuropathy. Treatments will range from massaging and exercises to revision spine surgery as a last measure. Identifying the root cause of back pain present after back surgery is crucial. Scar tissue will form after the surgery and induce mild forms of pain that should subside after 6 to 10 weeks. If the condition does not improve in less than 3 the months, it is generally considered that the operation failed and requires revision.
As traditional surgery requires large open incisions, a newer method, minimally invasive back surgery, gains more popularity. This type of revision spine surgery requires only a small incision, and it is less damaging to muscles and conjunctive tissue surrounding the spine. Using a laser scalpel the surgeon can repair damages created after improper previous surgery.
Using a laser scalpel to perform back surgery requires cutting away broken, malformed or damaged tissue. With the laser positioned inside the body, through a long needle, directly into the desired area, the surgeon will use microscopy for guidance. When activating the laser the surrounding area is burned and vaporized depending on the required action of cutting or removing tissue. Usual procedures include laminotomy, foraminotomy, facet thermal ablation, spinal fusion, microdisectomy, all intended to repair previous interventions.
Rehabilitation after revision spine surgery is a carefully monitored process, including physical therapy to harden the weakened muscles in the affected areas. Strengthening the small muscles around the backbone will increase its support and protect the operation from damage. Extreme caution is taken to prevent specific movements that could interfere or stress the repaired structures, while still encouraging the patient to exercise regularly. A therapist will assist the patients in learning and practicing new exercises.
Returning to a workplace after revision spine surgery is a decission only a specialist doctor will make, depending on the patient’s progress.
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