Failed Back Surgery Syndrome: What Do You Need to Know?

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome: What Do You Need to Know?

One of the most common types of chronic pain we treat at CPI is back pain. There are a wide variety of causes for a person’s back pain, one of which we will be addressing today: failed back surgery syndrome. If you are experiencing continued chronic back pain after receiving an interventional surgical treatment, this could be one of the reasons. Read on to learn more from our back pain Bedford TX specialists (locations also in Benbrook and Lewisville).


What is Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

Failed back surgery syndrome (also called FBSS, or failed back syndrome) is a generalized term.  It is often used to describe the condition of patients who have not had a successful result with back surgery or spine surgery and have experienced continued pain after surgery. The lower back (Lumbar region) is the most common area for FBSS to occur.


Common Causes of FBSS

Studies estimate anywhere between 20% and 40% of back surgeries fail to permanently eliminate back pain. The word “failed” in the name of this condition is slightly misleading.

FBSS can develop for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • Pain originating in another location along the spine
  • Additional (or re-occurring) disc herniations
  • Nerve damage
  • Spinal implant failure
  • Scar tissue

In order to know whether a person’s pain is being caused by FBSS, several scans will need to be performed. These scans, together with a thorough exam, will confirm that the pain is originating from the surgery rather than another source [such as degeneration, a new injury or a separate pre-existing condition].


Reasons for Increased Risk of Developing FBSS

Sometimes there are pre-existing risk factors or conditions that increase the chances of a patient developing FBSS. These risk factors likely would have been discussed prior to the surgical procedure along with a thorough health history and pre-operative exam. The most common patient-related risks include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Co-existing chronic pain conditions (especially Fibromyalgia)
  • History of mental and/or emotional disorders (Depression, Anxiety, etc.)

If you are experiencing chronic lower back pain along with one of the above conditions, we may be able to help. CPI has Bedford doctors accepting new patients (locations also in Benbrook and Lewisville). Give us a call today to schedule a consultation.



Although it may seem like the correct way to fix a surgery is with another surgery, evidence points in the opposite direction. With each additional surgery, the chances of successful results decrease. A more conservative, multi-disciplined approach offers a higher chance of decreasing FBSS symptoms. Some of the treatments that your doctor may mention as options for treatment of FBSS are:

  • Spinal Cord Stimulation
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Physical therapy
  • Nerve blocks
  • Implantable pumps
  • Exercise


Back Pain Bedford TX

Back pain is one of the most common types of chronic pain in adults. Any back pain that lasts longer than three months is considered chronic and should be treated by a professional. If you or a loved one is struggling with pre or post-operative pain, we can help. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation.

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