Post-Laminectomy Syndrome (Failed Back Syndrome)

Post-Laminectomy Syndrome (Failed Back Syndrome)

Facts & Basic Information

Refers to Chronic Back and/or Leg Pain that occurs after Back (spinal) Surgery, it is recogniized as a chronic pain syndrome.

The United States and the Netherlands report the highest number of spinal surgeries. About 500,000 spine surgeries are performed in the U.S. each year but are not always successful.

Up to 20 percent of Americans who undergo spine surgery each year still have some degree of persistent back or leg pain afterwards. When spine surgery does not achieve the results desired by you and your physician, the condition is then referred to as Post-Laminectomy Syndrome.

Patients who have undergone one or more operations on the lumbar spine, and continue to experience and report pain afterward can be divided into two groups.
The first group are those in whom surgery was never indicated, or the surgery performed was never likely to achieve the desired result; and those in whom the surgery was indicated, but which technically did not achieve the intended result.

How Post-laminectomy Syndrome Develops?

A variety of factors may cause Post-Laminectomy Syndrome.

  • In many cases, the spinal nerve root, which has been decompressed by the surgery, simply does not fully recover from its prior trauma and continues to be a source of chronic nerve pain or sciatica.
  • In other instances, the body’s way of healing includes scar formation, which can surround the nerve roots, entangling it and give rise to chronic pain symptoms.
  • Another relatively common occurrence is the presence of structural changes in the spine that develop above or below the site of a spinal fusion.
  • Other causes include: recurrent or new disc herniation, post-operative spinal or pelvic ligament instability, such as SI joint dysfunction and myofascial pain.

An individual may be predisposed to the development of FBS due to systemic disorders such as diabetes, autoimmune disease and peripheral blood vessels (vascular) disease.

Common Symptoms:

  • Dull and Aching pain involving the back and/or legs.
  • Similar pain experienced prior to surgery
  • Abnormal sensibility that may include Sharp, Pricking, and Stabbing pain – commonly referred to as neuropathic pain
  • Leg pain


The Pain that you may have with Post-Laminectomy Syndrome can be similar to the symptoms of several types of disorders. Accurately determining the source of your pain is critical to successful treatment.

  • Detailed history intake, Including a complete medical history, analysis of your symptoms,
  • Thorough Physical Examination and physical examination
  • Testing may include x-rays, MRI and/or CT scans, and electro-diagnosis (EMG)



  • Epidural Nerve Block
  • Facet Joint Injections
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation
  • Radiofrequency Neurotomy
  • Medical Management

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