After you’ve had back surgery, such as a laminectomy, it is at best discouraging and at worst harmfully life-altering to continue to have pain, even after you’ve had adequate time to recover. At Failed Back Institute in Weatherford, Granbury & Midland, Texas, Scott Smith, MD is a specialist in the treatment of post-laminectomy syndrome and failed back surgery syndrome. Even if you’ve been told there’s no hope for your recovery, call or request an appointment with Dr. Smith for a viable treatment plan and relief of your pain.

What is a laminectomy?

A laminectomy, or decompression surgery, is a procedure used to relieve pain and pressure placed on a spinal nerve by removing the lamina, a part of the vertebrae. This procedure creates space for the spinal cord and associated nerves, so they’re no longer compressed.

Compression of the spinal nerve is due to conditions such as:

  • Spinal stenosis, or narrowing of your spinal canal
  • Herniated disc, or compression of your spinal cord
  • Vertebral injury
  • Tumors
  • Degenerative disc disease, or breakdown and wear of the vertebrae

A laminectomy is often used after conservative treatments have been unsuccessful.

What is post-laminectomy syndrome?

Post-laminectomy syndrome, also called failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) or failed back syndrome, refers to a failure of surgical intervention to relieve your back or neck pain.

Symptoms of post-laminectomy syndrome may be similar, different, or perhaps worse than your initial back or neck pain. Depending on the nerves being compressed, symptoms may include:

  • Burning, stinging, or sharp pains
  • Radiating pain to your legs, arms, or buttocks
  • Dull or aching back
  • Numbness and tingling in extremities

FBSS is diagnosed after a sufficient amount of time has passed for healing and symptoms haven’t subsided. Diagnostic studies, including MRI, CT, and X-ray imaging and nerve conduction studies, are used to confirm a diagnosis and establish a plan for treatment.

What causes post-laminectomy syndrome?

The most common cause of post-laminectomy syndrome is a misdiagnosis of the source of pain or of the area of nerve compression.

Other causes of post-laminectomy syndrome include:

  • Transfer of spinal pain to the new site
  • Inadequate decompression of nerve
  • Nerve damage occurs during initial surgery
  • Recurrent underlying issues, such as spinal stenosis or disc herniation
  • Scar tissue formed on nerve
  • Untreated secondary source of pain

Other factors that may contribute to poor results of a laminectomy include diabetes, obesity, smoking, and poor rehabilitation after surgery.

How is post-laminectomy syndrome treated?

Dr. Smith takes exceptional time to understand your pre-surgery symptoms, medical and surgical history, and current symptoms. He’s committed to helping you find relief, even if you’ve been told that you’re out of options.

Conservative treatment may include:

  • Steroid therapy, either oral or injection
  • Injection therapy, done at the site of the injury
  • Physical therapy
  • Oral pain medications
  • Nerve stimulation therapy

Surgical options may include laminectomy revision, spinal fusion, or placement of artificial joints. Using specialized methods and specially designed devices, Dr. Smith uses his extensive knowledge and experience to identify and treat the true source of your pain and give you hope for relief.

For a consultation about your post-laminectomy syndrome and continued pain, call or request an appointment online with Dr. Smith.