When you’ve had spinal fusion surgery and it failed, it can have a profoundly bad impact on your life. At Failed Back Institute in Weatherford, Granbury & Midland, Texas, Scott Smith, MD has more than 25 years of experience treating complex spinal disorders, and he specializes in failed back surgery syndrome. When you’ve endured failed spinal fusion, Dr. Smith offers treatments that may give you relief, even if others have said you’re out of options. For a consultation regarding your failed spinal fusion, call or request an appointment online.

What is spinal fusion?

Spinal fusion is a surgical process used to treat a number of spinal conditions associated with the vertebrae, or spinal column. Fusion is when two or more bones are welded together, so they’re able to heal into a solid, single bone.

This may be done to eliminate painful movement or to stabilize the bones of the spine. This may be needed to treat conditions such as:

  • Infection
  • Fractures of the vertebrae
  • Spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal canal
  • Scoliosis, or abnormal curvature of your spine
  • Herniated disc, or compression of a disc between vertebrae
  • Degenerative disc disease, or breakdown and wear on vertebrae
  • Spondylolisthesis, or abnormal growths on bone

This treatment prevents movement of the bones and surrounding tissues. The effectiveness of this surgery is dependent on proper diagnosis of the source of pain, adequate post-surgery rehabilitation, and effective fusion of bones during your recovery.

What is failed spinal fusion?

Failed spinal fusion, also called failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS), is characterized by ineffective relief of back pain after the surgery has had a chance to heal, usually around three months. It’s diagnosed using a detailed medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic studies, including X-ray, MRI, and CT imaging.  

Dr. Smith specializes in treating patients who’ve previously had surgical treatment for their complex spinal disorders and suffer from FBSS, post-laminectomy syndrome, and failed spinal fusion.

What causes failed spinal fusion?

The leading cause of failed spinal surgery is an inaccurate diagnosis of the underlying source of your back pain. If nerve compression or spinal deformity goes untreated, pain can continue and even worsen.

Other causes of failed spinal fusion may include:

  • Failure of fusion to set or heal
  • Instability of fusion or implant
  • Nerve damage
  • Recurring disc disease above or below treatment site

Smoking, diabetes, and poor post-surgery rehabilitation can all be contributing factors for failed spinal fusion and continued pain.

What are the possible treatments for failed spinal fusion?

Dr. Smith determines the best course of action using the most appropriate surgical and nonsurgical approaches to treat the cause of your failed surgery.

Treatments may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Oral medications
  • Nerve stimulation therapy
  • Injection therapy directly into your problem area

If these conservative treatments aren’t effective at treating your continued pain, he may use advanced surgical techniques and specialized devices to: identify the true source of your pain, revise the previous fusion, remove and replace the injured disc, or correct remaining deformities causing your pain.

For a consultation regarding your failed spinal fusion, call or request an appointment online with Dr. Smith.