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When Revision Lumbar Surgery Is Recommended

Spine surgery has the power to relieve pain, reverse the damage, and improve your quality of life. But in up to 40% of cases, back pain can return even after surgery was supposed to correct the problem.

The thought of undergoing another surgical procedure for back pain can be daunting. Revision surgery is often more complex than the original procedure, but it could be your best option if the pain lingers after you’ve exhausted other treatment options. 

George Kakoulides, MD, a board-certified neurosurgeon, and our surgical team specialize in revision lumbar surgery for people with failed back surgery syndrome. If you’re still dealing with back or leg pain after healing from spine surgery, it’s time to learn more about revision procedures.

Understanding back pain after surgery 

Pain is part of your body’s healing process after surgery. Once your body heals, pain should dissipate, but that’s not always the case. The most common symptom of failed back surgery is pain that resumes or continues even after your body has healed from your first surgery.

Some people may also notice:

It’s important to stay in contact with your doctor after spine surgery and follow all the guidelines for recovery, including participating in physical therapy. But even when you do everything right, it’s possible to experience pain after you’ve healed from surgery.

Conservative treatment options for ongoing back pain

Spine surgery is a major medical procedure. Choosing spine surgery once is a big decision, and Dr. Kakoulides understands that most people want to do everything they can to avoid another surgery if possible.

That’s why our team offers comprehensive evaluations for people with back pain. Dr. Kakoulides begins by reviewing your medical history and records of previous surgery. He performs a physical exam and discusses your ongoing symptoms with you.

He often orders X-ray, MRI, or CT scans to better assess the condition of your spine, and additional testing could include a myelogram or electromyography. After he gets a better understanding of your condition, he develops a targeted treatment plan to address your pain. 

Whenever possible, we recommend conservative, non-surgical treatment for ongoing pain. Options may include steroid injections, physical therapy, or alternative therapies like acupuncture or chiropractic to minimize symptoms and avoid surgery.

When it’s time to consider revision lumbar surgery

Many people who experience back pain after their spine surgery find that a combination of conservative treatments works to relieve their symptoms. But in some cases, nonsurgical treatment may not be enough.

Dr. Kakoulides may recommend revision lumbar surgery to patients who have had a lumbar fusion in the past, but still, experience chronic pain or neurological symptoms that don’t resolve with conservative care.

A few reasons that revision surgery might be necessary include conditions like pseudoarthrosis, adjacent level disease, and progressive deformities. Sometimes, spinal conditions like degenerative disc disease continue getting worse even after surgical procedures.

Revision lumbar surgery can include:

Revision surgery addresses the cause of your pain, whether it’s due to new or worsening spinal conditions. 

You don’t have to live with chronic pain, even after you’ve had spine surgery. Talk to Dr. Kakoulides and our team to find out if revision lumbar surgery could be a good option for you. Contact us by phone or book online.

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