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7 Signs You May Need Revision Spine Surgery

If you have gone through spine surgery that ultimately wasn’t unsuccessful, it’s cause for considerable grief, but you’re certainly not alone. A surprisingly significant percentage of spinal surgeries don’t yield the results hoped for by patient and surgeon. 

Failed back surgery syndrome, or FBSS, is the condition that plagues many individuals who, unfortunately, continue to live with pain even after enduring surgery. It may be tempting to pick apart your first procedure in order to figure out why it failed, but more often than not, other contributing factors unrelated to your first surgery are more often the culprits.

As a board-certified neurosurgeon whose speciality is spinal procedures, Dr. Benjamin Cohen performs many corrective spinal surgeries, or revision spine surgeries, for patients who remain in pain and live with decreased mobility. 

How do I know I might need revision spine surgery?

When revision spine surgery is on the table as a treatment option, you’ve likely experienced extended periods of pain — which can be dull or sharp — and exhaustion, and that’s no way to live. You may be a candidate for the procedure if:

If Dr. Cohen does recommend a corrective revision spine surgery for you, he thoroughly studies your medical history, talks to you at length about your conditions, and lets you know that it’s a complex surgical procedure. If you opt to go forward with it, he is with you every step of the way. 

Seven things that indicate you’re a candidate for revision spine surgery

1. Adjacent segment disease

If you suffer with this problem, the vertebral joints both above and below your original surgical site are degenerating. Depending on where your initial surgery was, you may have pain in your neck or that starts in your lower back and extends down into your legs and feet. Numbness and tingling are also typical of this condition.

2. Pseudarthrosis

When your bones heal improperly after a spinal fusion — the procedure where your surgeon connects vertebrae in an effort to eliminate pain caused by a herniated disc, correct a deformity, or stabilize your spine — you’re at risk for this condition. An additional surgery may be the best option.

3. Recurring disc herniation

Unfortunately, herniated disc recurrences after discectomy are so prevalent that a second surgery is required in up to a quarter of patients, and another herniation is the main reason.

4. Radiculopathy

A pinched nerve in your back may not sound serious, but the pain you suffer if it persists can be accompanied by problems holding on to objects and can even affect your bladder or bowel function. If an initial surgical corrective attempt isn’t successful, revision spine surgery can help.  

5. Failed back surgery syndrome

Revision spine surgery can often correct problems, including spinal infection and pain, that reappear after any one of a wide range of different types of spine surgery.

6. Spinal stenosis

When narrowing of your spinal canal occurs (called spinal stenosis), pain, tingling, and other symptoms emerge as the nerves in your spine are compressed. This problem usually affects your lower back or neck areas, and revision spine surgery may be the best and most realistic solution.

7. Progressive deformities

Conditions like scoliosis and osteoporosis can cause deformities to worsen and exacerbate your pain, discomfort, and ability to stand straight and comfortably. Revision spine surgery can be the answer if your deformity has intensified and the problems related to it have advanced since your first surgery.

Revision spine surgery is an important tool that addresses diverse problems after failed spinal procedures, and Dr. Cohen is highly skilled at assessing what it can successfully treat. He analyzes your overall bone health, the integrity of the screws and plates placed in your previous surgery if you had a spinal fusion, and a host of other considerations. 

He recommends a revision spine surgical plan that’s completely tailored to your needs and what has transpired since your first surgery. If at all possible, he performs minimally invasive surgery, which means faster recovery. 

Investigate the possibilities of revision spine surgery

If you’re suffering even though you’ve had back surgery already, don’t assume you have no options. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Cohen by calling our office or reaching out to us on our website.  

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