Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

What Is Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

Failed back surgery syndrome, or failed spinal surgery, is diagnosed when a patient continues to suffer chronic back pain from a previous spinal surgery. These surgeries may include surgery to stabilize or decompress the spine or surgery to relieve back pain.

What Are the Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

Patients with failed spinal surgery have either a new or persistent pain in the back or legs following spine surgery. The pain may be similar to the pain experienced before surgery, or it could be a new pain of a different degree or in a different spot.

What are the Causes of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

Dr. Singh and Dr. Phillips have identified several factors that may cause persistent back pain following surgery. These factors include:

  • Failure of the spine to heal together during fusion
  • Recurrent disc herniation
  • Nerve compression or damage not addressed or that redevelops after the initial surgery
  • Pain from other areas of the spine
  • Spinal implant failure

What are the Treatments for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?


The physicians at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush take several factors into consideration before determining the optimal treatment plan for failed spinal surgery. They consider what original surgery was performed, the pain the patient had before the original surgery and after the surgery, and the nature of the patient's current pain.


Treatment for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome varies depending on the reason for the failed surgery. Surgical treatment may include repeat decompression or fusion.