Failed Back Syndrome

Failed back syndrome refers to persistent pain — or even worsening pain — after previous treatments, including surgery. While some types of spine surgery are more likely to lead to successful pain relief than others, failed back syndrome can be treated successfully.

Many patients in this condition turn to the combined team of orthopedic spine and neuroscience specialists at Norton Leatherman spine for help when they have continued pain, weakness, lack of mobility and other symptoms despite previous treatments.

Failed Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion surgery stabilizes the spine by creating bone grafts that fuse some of the vertebrae together to provide stability and relieve pain. The surgery itself creates an environment for the bone graft to grow around a structure to accomplish the fusion.

A stabilized and somewhat immobile spine is necessary for the bone graft to grow successfully. Failed back syndrome after spinal fusion surgery can be the result of the vertebrae failing to fuse completely.

While patients are recovering from spinal fusion surgery, Norton Leatherman Spine physicians recommend they walk often, but avoid bending, twisting and lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds until cleared by their physician.

Failed Back Syndrome After Discectomy or Laminectomy

Continued issues after back surgery are often the result of the surgeon not addressing what’s actually causing the pain.

Degenerative disc disease, herniated discs and other conditions where there is pressure on nerve roots or even the spine — causing pain, numbness or weakness — can be difficult to repair surgically.

A new herniated disc can erupt after surgery and can cause failed back syndrome. Another cause can be successful repair of the worst of the herniated discs while less noticeable herniations remained.

A high level of experience and skill are necessary to identify precisely the source of your pain so it can be addressed.

The high number of back surgeries performed at Norton Leatherman Spine means our surgeons have deep experience that allows them to pinpoint your diagnosis and deliver the correct treatment. Our expertise also allows us to address failed back syndrome and get you back to living your best life.

About Norton Leatherman Spine

Norton Leatherman Spine is a combined team of orthopedic spine surgeons, neurosurgeons from Norton Neuroscience Institute and pain management specialists who provide care for adults and children from Louisville and Southern Indiana, as well as from across the region, nation and world.

  • The multidisciplinary team incorporates expertise from a variety of specialties to offer a comprehensive array of treatment options that include minimally invasive and nonsurgical therapies.
  • Our team approach to the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of spine conditions works cooperatively with primary care physicians and other specialists to develop a treatment plan as unique as each individual.
  • Because you may not need surgery, you may work with our pain management team, physical therapy specialists and others who can create a care plan with the right types of treatments for you.
  • If you need surgery, you’re in experienced hands. Norton Leatherman Spine physicians perform more than 4,000 surgeries a year.
  • Our team has more than 45 specialists at nearly 20 offices across Louisville and Southern Indiana. Many offer same-day appointments and Saturday hours, with no referral needed
  • Our specialists are internationally recognized leaders in clinical research of spinal disease, injury and deformity, and have served in senior positions in the Scoliosis Research Society, the most prestigious organization for scoliosis surgeons around the world.
  • Norton Healthcare is the first health system in the nation to be recognized as an Advanced Orthopedic & Spine Center of Excellence by DNV.
  • We offer minimally invasive and robotic-assisted procedures that carry less risk and can speed your recovery.
  • We use the EOS Imaging system, which collects high-resolution images while exposing the patient to 50% to 85% less radiation than traditional X-rays and 95% less than basic CT scans. The system is especially beneficial to scoliosis patients who often need repeated imaging to monitor their progress.
  • Use MyNortonChart to communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more, anytime from a mobile device or computer

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