Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome services offered in Delray Beach, FL

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Back pain is an extremely common symptom experienced by nearly every person at some point in their life. Unfortunately, some individuals will continue to experience back pain, even after completing spine surgery to address any known conditions. Patients who continue to experience pain after surgery are often determined to have failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS), which is also commonly referred to as failed back syndrome. If you’ve had failed back surgery, Marcie A. Merson, MD, of Palm Beach Pain Institute can help. Call the office in Delray Beach, Florida, or request an appointment online today.

What causes failed back surgery syndrome?

In some cases, lasting pain after spine surgery can be attributed to a specific cause, though there is not always a clear answer for each individual. It is not that the procedure itself has failed but that the results of surgery have failed to provide the patient with complete relief from painful symptoms.

If a cause can be identified, it is most frequently associated with one of the following scenarios:

Changes in the relationship of the spinal bones and joints

Changes in the spine can cause the spine to become painful in areas such as the facet joints above or below surgery because the biomechanics of the spine are different than before the surgery.

Scar tissue development

In the months after spine surgery, scar tissue can begin forming around a patient’s spinal nerve roots. This hardened tissue can inflict significant pressure on the nerve roots, resulting in significant levels of pain.

Repeated surgeries

The higher the number of procedures and surgeries performed on the spine, the higher the likelihood that the individual will continue to experience symptomatic pain afterward. This is typically seen in cases where there is degeneration of the spine.


This particular term refers to an instance wherein a solid spinal fusion fails to form after surgery. Without this fusion, the spine remains unstable and more likely to cause severe pain.

Failure to properly identify the patient’s condition

Of course, it is impossible to treat an individual effectively if their underlying condition is not accurately diagnosed. This can lead to unnecessary spine treatments, which will not be able to relieve the person’s pain.

Implant failure

Spinal hardware such as rods and screws used to manually hold the spine in place do have a small chance of breaking during or after spine surgery. Without the needed support from these instruments, the spine will usually destabilize and pain will return or worsen.

How can you prevent failed back surgery syndrome?

Preventing failed back surgery syndrome starts with receiving a clear and accurate diagnosis and working with a specialist who has many years of experience in identifying and treating complex conditions of the spine. Dr. Merson helps many patients with complex issues due to failed back surgery syndrome and has many treatment options that can help to improve the patient’s function and reduce pain.

To learn more about spine surgery options, the risks, and benefits of each procedure, and whether you may be a candidate for treatment, call Palm Beach Pain Institute or request an appointment online today.