Helpful Information

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome: What It Is & How We Treat It

surgery tools

If you’ve recently undergone and healed from a back procedure but begin to experience new or persistent pain, you might have failed back or failed fusion surgery syndrome. Below, we’ve outlined some important information about this issue and how Dr. Petersen can help you treat it.

Reasons Back Surgeries Fail

Many spine surgeries are performed to either decompress a nerve or stabilize a painful joint. Unfortunately, surgery cannot always cure the pain. Often, when a surgery isn’t effective, causing patients to experience more pain after surgery, it’s because the area that was operated on was not the source of the pain. 

Symptoms & Signs

Like many spine- and back-related issues, the signs and symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome vary patient to patient. Most patients experience some level of pain, while others also experience symptoms such as numbness, weakness and a tingling sensation in their extremities

Diagnosing Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

In order to diagnose a patient with failed back surgery syndrome, the doctor must be able to link the current issues and symptoms with the surgery. There are a lot of factors that come into play here, the number one factor being time. For example, if you had a surgery 10 years ago and then start to experience pain, it’s likely that your pain has nothing to do with your previous surgery, but rather general wear and tear or another issue. This is why it’s very important that you notify your doctor as soon as you begin experiencing pain or numbness, especially if you’ve recently undergone spine or back surgery.

How We Treat Failed Back Surgeries

Dr. Petersen is an expert at both diagnosing and treating patients who have experienced a failed spine or back surgery. His conservative approach to treatment includes an initial appointment to assess the patient’s condition and to learn more about the previous surgery. Based on this assessment, he will determine the best course of action for his patient, whether that be physical therapy, medication or, in some cases, a revision surgery.


Dr. Bendt P. Petersen is an orthopaedic and neurospine surgical specialist with over twenty years in operative clinical practice. He is a fellowship-trained surgeon whose practice is the only one in the Mobile-area devoted exclusively to the treatment of your spine.

The Center for Spine Health employs the most advanced operative and non-operative therapies in concert with the most highly-trained physical therapists and other advanced ancillary practitioners to help you live the life you want to live.

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