Understanding Failed Back Surgery Syndrome by Dr Raj Sureja MD

Orthopaedic & Spine Center

Dr Raj Sureja MD is an Interventional Pain Management Specialist with

Orthopaedic & Spine Center

In my first blog post about Failed Surgery Syndrome, I tried to define the condition and why it can happen.  While surgery failures can sometimes be attributed to poor surgical technique or physician malpractice, more often than not it happens to patients who have had routine, non-problematic surgeries with no operative complications.

In this blog post, I am referring to a condition (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome) where the mechanics of the surgery were performed correctly AND in the correct anatomical location by the surgeon (and in the cases of spinal fusion surgery that all hardware is properly placed and functioning appropriately), but the patient still has unexplained pain that may even be worse than before the surgery.

OSC's Interventional Pain Management doctors, Dr Jenny Andrus MD and Dr Raj Sureja MD

Dr Raj Sureja MD (r) with fellow Interventional Pain Management specialist, Dr Jenny Andrus MD

Some of the factors for post-operative failure include, but are not limited to:

  • Patient Depression
  • Scar Tissue in the Operated Area
  • Compression of a Nerve Post-Operatively
  • Recurrent herniation of the spinal disc
  • Residual disc material pressing on a nerve
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Vascular Disease
  • Auto-immune Disorders
  • Post-surgical infection and complications
  • Certain back and neck surgeries have better outcomes than others
  • A history of back/neck surgeries to relieve pain
  • Unrealistic expectations

In my next blog post, I will discuss the theories about why Failed Back Surgery Syndrome occurs and what pre-existing conditions can make a patient more likely to develop this syndrome.

Dr. Raj N. Sureja is a Board-Certified, Fellowship-Trained Interventional Pain Management Specialist, who currently practices at Orthopaedic & Spine Center in Newport News, VA.  For more information on Dr. Sureja or OSC, please go to www.osc-ortho.com.  For an appointment, please call 757-596-1900.