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An Overview of Post-Laminectomy Syndrome and Treatment Options - Spine Center of Texas
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An Overview of Post-Laminectomy Syndrome and Treatment Options

Post Laminectomy, syndrome, sometimes called failed surgery back syndrome happens when symptoms are unresolved or return after the procedure has taken place. Unfortunately, up to 20% of people who undergo back surgery suffer from this condition. The primary complaint is pain in the area of the surgery that has not improved.

Symptoms of post-laminectomy syndrome include:

  • Spinal pain described as dull or achy
  • Sharp, stabbing or shooting pain down the leg
  • Back pain that is unchanged since the procedure
  • Neck or arm pain if the surgery took place in the cervical region
  • Myofascial pain

There are a wide variety of causes that can contribute to post-laminectomy syndrome. Some of the most common are:

  • Formation of scar tissue or other material compressing the spinal nerve
  • A new or recurrent injury next to the surgical area
  • Substances released during the inflammatory process irritating the nerves and surrounding tissue
  • A history of tobacco use
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Sleep issues
  • Problems with the sacroiliac (SI) joint or pelvic ligament

In some instances, the root of the spinal nerve does not heal completely after surgery and pain is still present.

A physician’s complete review of medical history and symptoms in combination with a comprehensive physical assessment is necessary to diagnose post-laminectomy syndrome correctly. Testing such as an x-ray, MRI, CT, EMG, and nerve conduction studies will offer the information needed to support the findings.

Treatment of post-laminectomy syndrome centers around pain management, with an effort made to handle the condition without further surgery. Once pain is under control with medication, physical therapy can start. If the pain continues to interfere with the individual’s ability to function normally, the physician can prescribe either an epidural, nerve block or facet joint injection. If these therapies fall short of treatment goals, the choice of an implantable spinal stimulator or radiofrequency ablation may be appropriate.

If you have been dealing with pain from post-laminectomy syndrome and would like to discuss the treatment options we provide, please call us at either our New Braunfels or Seguin offices.