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