Failed back surgery syndrome: current perspectives

J Pain Res. 2016 Nov 7;9:979-987. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S92776. eCollection 2016.


The treatment of failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) can be equally challenging to surgeons, pain specialists, and primary care providers alike. The onset of FBSS occurs when surgery fails to treat the patient's lumbar spinal pain. Minimizing the likelihood of FBSS is dependent on determining a clear etiology of the patient's pain, recognizing those who are at high risk, and exhausting conservative measures before deciding to go into a revision surgery. The workup of FBSS includes a thorough history and physical examination, diagnostic imaging, and procedures. After determining the cause of FBSS, a multidisciplinary approach is preferred. This includes pharmacologic management of pain, physical therapy, and behavioral modification and may include therapeutic procedures such as injections, radiofrequency ablation, lysis of adhesions, spinal cord stimulation, and even reoperations.

Keywords: back pain; back pain with radiation; back pain without radiation; low back pain; pain disorder; review; spinal cord stimulation.

Publication types

  • Review