Facts

  • Individuals who smoke are more likely to develop Post-Laminectomy Syndrome following back surgery

Overview/Description

Post-Laminectomy Syndrome or Failed Back Surgery Syndrome refers to persistent, residual pain following spinal surgery. Most often individuals recover from spinal surgery with no complications, but for a small number of individuals back pain persists.

Types

  • Cervical Post-Laminectomy Syndrome
  • Thoracic Post-Laminectomy Syndrome
  • Lumbar Post-Laminectomy Syndrome

Symptoms

Common symptoms associated with Post-Laminectomy Syndrome include:

  • Dull or achy back or leg pain following lower back surgery
  • Dull or achy neck or arm pain following neck surgery
  • Sharp pain in extremities

Diagnosis

An accurate diagnosis by a physician is beneficial in the creation of a treatment plan.  To do so, a physical examination will be completed followed by imaging tests such as an X-ray, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or Electromyogram (EMG) to.  These tests are done to pinpoint the cause of your back pain and help with treatment planning.

Causes

Post-Laminectomy Syndrome most commonly occurs following a spinal fusion or laminectomy, but may occur following discectomy. Possible causes include:

  • Epidural fibrosis (scarring)
  • Recurrent disc herniation
  • Structural spinal column changes
  • Infection in disc space or epidural space
  • Progressive degeneration of the spine
  • Arachnoiditia (inflammation of the arachnoid)

Treatment Options & Care

  • Spinal Cord Stimulation
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
  • Epidural Steroid Injections
  • Anti-inflammatory medications note: medications should be taken as directed by your doctor