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What were your symptoms with failed back syndrome?????

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:19 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All!!
I am just curious to find out how different everyone felt and the type of symptoms they had with failed back syndrome?
What type of testing you had, and what made you and your dr decide to do a revision.
Reason being just looking for personal experiences as this may be my issue. Will know when I get my cat scan.
Right now having a ton of pain.. My legs are the worse part of it. We thought it was the osteo arthritis in my knees but it is not.

Thanks and hope your all doing ok.
Terri :)


  • Terri hon , I am so sorry to hear that you are hurting so badly. I can't offer any advice on this subject but you know that I will always offer my support to you....take care sweetie....Miki
  • tonyttony Posts: 28
    edited 12/30/2014 - 7:51 PM
    Hey Terri, i will shed some light on the FBSS( Failed Back Surgery Syndrome) subject... first, let me tell you that i am no doc, but that i am only speaking from past and present experiences only; fbss is a real and painful condition; most docs will be more than happy to label you this if they can not find anything else wrong with you, then, they will send you on your way and wish you good luck. That was my experience; then i continued with the god awful leg and back pain; went to my PCP and complained and told him of my symptoms; oh, his reply was, that i was only there looking for drugs.. that xxxx me off; he is not the one who cant stand up after working an 8 hr. shift, unable to walk correctly and sitting for only 30 minutes, and he is not the one who is unable to maintain a healthy sex life and was facing divorce because of it. Wow, that is alot;I got mad as hell, went on my own and obtained a second opinion from my now current NS, and he actually listened to me, imagine that. He ran blood work, did a CT scan with and without contrast, did a bone scan, and obtained the MRI that i had 2 months prior that my 1st NS dismissed as normal. After all of the tests and waiting, he sat me down and explained the results of all the tests that he had ran on me; needless to say, i was not prepared to hear what he had to say. Non-union (pseudoarthosis, or failed fusion); extreme thick scar tissue; a couple of loose screws( my wife couldve told him that, lol); now i was off to the OR again. Here i am, 8 weeks out, and despite some nerve pain from my surgery, i am feeling better now than i have ever felt since 2000. I hope that this helps; symptoms of FBSS are different for everyone; i know pain, stiffness, clicking of hardware, and a number of other factors are typical. I would say look it up, talk to your doctor, and if he doesnt satisfy your needs, then keep looking until you find someone who will listen and understand and help you. I hope this helps; god bless .

    2 laminectomies; DDD; facet hypertrophy; high grade stenosis; fusion @L5-S1 in 2007; removal of hardware and re-fusion from L4-S1 in 2008
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  • The first sign was after having a fusion the pain just never went away! Infact it increased.......... :jawdrop: it took an MRI and a CT scan to see what was going on inside and it showed that I was bone on bone and never fused at all.
  • I have a L4-L5-S1 fusion that is almost 20 years old now. Had no pain until 12-13years into it, after my third child. MRI showed another herniated disc above my fusion. Now,after 1 year of constant pain I am on disability and they are not sure if the fusion or the new disc is to blame. I have had MRIs, EEG, all sorts of steroid injections and PT, chiro..everything. Yesterday, I found this article and dropped it by my surgeons office after my latest MRI (my big toe has began dropping badly and I have to tape it up). My lower back hurts so bad down to the bones and my hips, plus now down to my foot. It is such a deep pain, unreal. Hope this helps.

    www.theassr.org American Society of Spine Radiology

    Provocation Lumbar Diskography at Previously Fused Lumbar Levels

    Interventional Spine

    Harjot S Dulai, MD,
    Walter S Bartynski, MD, ASSR Member
    William E Rothfus, MD, ASSR Member

    Scientific Paper


    To assess the provocation diskogram results and clinical value of performing provocation lumbar diskography at previously fused lumbar levels.

    Methods & Materials

    Over a three year period, 29 patients with prior lumbar fusion were identified who underwent provocative diskography and these cases were retrospectively reviewed.
    In 20 patients, residual pain similar to their previously treated back pain persisted and diskography included testing of the previously fused levels. In 9 patients, only levels adjacent to the previous lumbar fusion were studied.
    Twenty four post-fusion levels were studied in the 20 patients. Diskography results were evaluated and follow up assessed including subsequent surgical revision.


    Twelve of 24 (50%) previously fused levels demonstrated a positive and concordant pain response at diskography. Of the remaining 12 previously fused levels, 9 were negative and 3 demonstrated non-concordant pain.
    Adjacent level concordant pain was also demonstrated in 9 total patients-3 in patients with positive concordant fused levels, 4 in patients with negative fused levels, and 2 in patients with non-concordant fused levels.
    Surgical revision was performed at the previously fused level in 6 patients, all of which had demonstrated concordant pain during diskography. In three of these patients, additional inter-body fusion was also performed at an adjacent disc levels. Four fused levels demonstrated diskographic contrast leakage.
    Inter-body fusion was also performed at an adjacent level in two patients with negative response at the previously fused level.
    Overall, surgical revision was performed in 8 patients, of which 6 had concordant fusion level pain. The two patients without concordant fusion level pain had surgery at adjacent levels only.


    Pain can be identified by provocation lumbar diskography at previously fused lumbar levels and these are commonly surgically revised. Adjacent level provoked pain is not uncommon, and these levels may also undergo a primary operation or be included in a surgical revision.

  • hey girl i cant offer any advice but my soft huggs to you!!! i'm back on posting, yeah!!!!!!!!! xoxoxoxoxo
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  • Hi Terri:

    I am sorry that you are in pain. I would have thought you would be feeling better by now. I know we had our surgeries around the same time. I hope you can find some useful information on FBSS or what ever is your condition and feel better.

  • I'm having problems as my L5/S1 is not fused. I'm waiting on CT and possible additional surgery. My pain is getting to the point that it's almost worse than pre-op. Tony? What did they do to re-do your surgery? Did they take the old hardware out and put new stuff in? Did they take a different approach? Terri-I just posted about strange leg pain...wondering if yours is similar? I feel for you my spiney sister!!! :( -Andrea
  • alcb... they removed my old hardware since there was no evidence of fusion at L5-S1 level, then they re-fused from L4-S1 and installed all new hardware and did all the bone and bmp all over again.. i can relate on the pain being worse than it was before surgery.. my heart goes out to you.. may you find comfort and you wiil be in my prayers
  • Terry:

    There is an article on this site about FBSS.

  • Appreciate the concern and information. It stinks when you think that you'll be "fixed" and then find out they only did half of what they needed to. The pain seems to get worse everyday. I'm having drawing pain in my L leg (lower quad area), sciatic pain in the posterior L leg, and weakness. This is along with the usual back and hip pain.
    Oh well, what can you do??? :? -Andrea
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