What is Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?
Failed Back Surgery Syndrom (FBSS) is a condition that occurs in patients who have had one or more lower back surgeries without long-term relief of symptoms, and they have persistent or recurring pain in their lower back and legs. The condition is extremely frustrating to the patient who must deal with an array of problems including intractable back pain, disability, dysfunction and psychological disturbances that develop due to the decline in their quality of life. It is not unusual for an FBSS patient to require the services of disability advocates, psychologists, therapists, and marriage counselors.
What causes Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?
Frustratingly, there is no single cause for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome. These patients are often the most challenging cases for neurosurgeons. Their poor surgical outcomes are puzzling, and their failure to respond to long-term conservative treatments are disappointing. One common thread is that neuropathic pain is common to all sufferers. Unfortunately, the conventional treatments for this type of pain do not seem to work for FBSS patients who may be viewed by their medical teams as “hopeless.”
What are the treatments for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?
One approach is to view the patient as more than a collection of failed diagnoses. As Wilkinson notes in his book “The Failed Back Syndrome” just as there are a variety of causes of the failed back syndrome, there are also a variety of therapies.(1)
Dr. Melamed’s takes a holistic approach to assessing the needs of patients suffering from FBSS. He will work with the patient’s counselors and therapists to develop a 360-degree understanding of the patient’s symptoms, challenges and lifestyle. To this team, Dr. Melamed can bring a holistic mindset and a proven, conservative, non-surgical treatment plan that may include alternative non-surgical treatments such as acupuncture, yoga, physical therapy, diet and non-opioid pain relief. By providing more alternatives for care, Dr. Melamed is providing more opportunity for recovery for the FBSS patient.
Where there was a hopeless diagnosis, there is hope for recovery. If the nonsurgical treatments are not successful in reducing the patient’s neuropathic pain, Doctor Melamed will review all appropriate surgical options and potential risks and work closely with the patient and his support team before pursuing a surgical option.
1. Failed Back Syndrome: Etiology and Therapy, Harold Wilkinson, Springer Science, Pg. 3