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Failed Back Surgery Specialist

Premier Pain Management

Anesthesiologist and Pain Management Physician located in Northwest Bakersfield / Rosedale, Bakersfield, CA

If you have back pain that’s so debilitating that you need surgery, you expect reduced pain after your operation. However, between 20-40% of back surgeries don’t adequately relieve pain and lead to a condition called failed back surgery syndrome. At Premier Pain Management in Bakersfield, California, board-certified anesthesiologist and pain management specialist Philip Khoury, DO, offers innovative treatments, including electrical neurostimulation, for failed back surgery syndrome. If you still have back pain after surgery, call Premier Pain Management or make an appointment online today.

Failed Back Surgery Q & A

What is failed back surgery syndrome?

Failed back surgery syndrome describes the condition that occurs when you had spine surgery but continue to live with back pain. Back surgery isn’t always as straightforward as removing or repairing the injury or condition causing your pain. For example, even if a surgeon repairs a herniated disc, you could still have pain because of nerve damage caused by the herniated disc before your surgery.

What causes failed back surgery syndrome?

Surgery isn’t always the best way to alleviate back pain. Some discectomy and spinal fusion procedures have a higher chance of providing pain relief than others. Some of the reasons that spinal surgery might fail include:

  • Spinal fusion implants fail to fuse
  • Another part of the spine degenerates after surgery
  • Surgery doesn’t reduce nerve compression
  • Nerve damage doesn’t heal 
  • Nerve damage occurs during your operation
  • Scar tissue forms around a nerve route

If you have back pain, talk to Dr. Khoury about all of your treatment options as well as the probability of surgery relieving your pain.

When should I talk to a doctor about failed back surgery syndrome?

Even minimally invasive surgery causes physical trauma to your muscles, connective tissues, and nerves. It takes time for your back to heal, and a certain degree of discomfort should be expected after surgery. Depending on the type of surgery you had, it could take up to four months for your bones to heal and for postsurgical pain to subside. 

Your surgeon should give you information about what to expect after your surgery and how to manage postoperative pain. If your pain lasts longer than anticipated, make an appointment to talk to Dr. Khoury.

How is failed back surgery treated?

If you continue to have pain after back surgery, Dr. Khoury’s first step is to diagnose the problem causing your pain. He uses state-of-the-art X-rays, MRIs, and nerve conduction studies to locate and diagnose the cause of your pain. Then, depending on the condition causing your pain, he creates a personalized, multidisciplinary treatment plan to address your specific needs. 

For example, if your pain is due to nerve damage, Dr. Khoury might suggest a spinal cord stimulator or another neurostimulation device to block the pain signals. He often combines spinal cord stimulators with physical therapy to strengthen the muscles supporting your spine and other lifestyle modifications to reduce your risk of future injury. 

Call Premier Pain Management or make an appointment online for expert diagnosis and treatment for failed back surgery syndrome