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Failed back surgery syndrome causes, symptoms, treatments

Jun 14, 2018 | Surgical Errors

Patients in New York who are suffering from new and chronic pain following spinal surgery should know that they may have what’s called failed back surgery syndrome. Patients who are suffering from the after-effects of neck surgery are also said to have FBSS.

There are two possible causes for this. One is that patients are either misdiagnosed or not thoroughly evaluated, leading to wrong-site surgery or entirely unnecessary surgery. The second is that an error was committed during the surgery. There could be, for instance, a failure in the spinal fusion hardware or a post-operative infection.

The most common symptom of FBSS is pain that is not associated with the healing process. Patients could suffer from limited mobility, back spasms, stabbing pains, numbness in the lower back that reaches to the legs, sleeplessness and increased anxiety and depression. In many cases, patients are prescribed anti-depressants in addition to the anti-inflammatory drugs and opioids that address the short- and long-term pain.

Treatment plans can usually be determined after thorough physical exams as well as spine X-rays and CT scan or MRI studies. Besides medication, patients may be advised to undergo regular physical therapy, see a chiropractor and undergo transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for the relief of damaged nerve roots. Trigger point injections and nerve blocks can also help reduce pain.

Patients will want to find out if their FBSS is the result of faulty surgical performance or some other form of negligence. To this end, they may wish to consult with a medical malpractice attorney, who in turn might request an inquiry with the medical board. Such attorneys may also utilize a wide network of medical professionals to build up a case. This means showing that there was an existing doctor-patient relationship and that the patient followed all the doctor’s instructions. After that, the attorney may be able to negotiate for a settlement.