Post-Laminectomy syndrome occurs when a patient has had back surgery to remove a portion of the vertebra (laminectomy surgery) and is left with persistent pain. Laminectomies relieve pressure on the spinal cord from a protruding disc but there can be other causes. Our pain management doctors can successfully treat Post-laminectomy syndrome following surgery to the back due to persistent pain in the back with non-invasive methods such as nerve blocks, spinal cord stimulation, and facet joint injections.
Most people recover from this type of surgery successfully and have little or no complications, but some people are left with persistent pain which is called post-laminectomy syndrome. You may also hear it referred to as Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS) but this is often a misnomer because a completely successful surgery could involve some residual pain.
Why Does Post-Laminectomy Syndrome Happen
Like all surgical procedures, including laminectomies, there is a risk of complications and side effects. The term post-laminectomy syndrome is used to describe any back pain that occurs after a laminectomy, but the cause of that pain could be varied.
Some examples of why a patient could still be experiencing pain include:
- Returning disc herniation
- Nerve root compression
- Spinal instability
- Scar tissue build up or fibrosis
- Joint hypermobility
- Facet joint issues
- Disease-related systemic responses
- Inflammatory responses within the body
- Narrowing of the spinal column or spinal stenosis
- Not all of the disc was successfully removed
At Downtown Pain Physicians, we understand that experiencing post-laminectomy syndrome is painful and very frustrating. Our goal is to provide you with the best care possible and treatment options that are customized to your pain and symptoms. Because each individual has a unique set of circumstances that caused their post-laminectomy syndrome, taking a detailed history and doing diagnostic tests using our state-of-the-art equipment is an essential part of creating a customized treatment plan. The good news is that there are solutions available, and our pain specialists can help you find post-laminectomy syndrome relief.
Symptoms of Post-Laminectomy Syndrome
There are several different types of pain, and the severity varies, it can even be different for one person at different times of the day or on different days.
The types of pain often associated with the post-laminectomy syndrome include:
Neuropathic Pain. This is pain that is caused by an injury to the nervous system, which may have been what lead to the laminectomy in the first place.
Radicular Pain. This is pain that shoots out from one area and is usually caused by inflammation or irritation of the nerve.
Central Sensitization. A chronic injury or constant inflammation can cause your pain receptors to be overreactive so that normal sensations are painful.
Patients suffering from back pain due to post-laminectomy syndrome may also find that the pain interferes with their life and can cause the following secondary symptoms:
- Muscle spasms
- Arthritis in spinal joints
- Disc herniation
- Difficulty sleeping
- Trouble performing daily activities
- Problems sitting or standing for long periods of time
- Difficulty working
- Changes in posture or gait
- Feelings of depression and/or anxiety
“BEST MEDICAL PRACTICE”
Best medical practice I have in my entire life received the best treatment for multiple injuries I received causing pain and he has also provided the best treatment to my son as well. Dr. Raval takes his time always returns my calls and has treated my son and me as his own family. The staff is all amazing and professional. I would give them more than a 5 Star. So grateful they exist.
Dr. Raval was extremely professional, thorough, and kind. He explained everything he was doing as he did it and really helped to put my mind at ease. He also recommended a physical therapist for further treatment. Great doctor, great visit. Highly recommended.
Diagnosing Post-Laminectomy Syndrome
Obviously, the first indicator that someone may have post-laminectomy syndrome is if they’ve recently had laminectomy surgery. But that’s not enough to make a definitive diagnosis. Our doctors will take a complete history, do a clinical examination and use state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to pinpoint the origin of your pain. Once that is determined and all other diagnoses are ruled out, your pain specialist will work with you to create a customized treatment plan that will be designed to give you the most post-laminectomy syndrome back pain relief possible.
Treatment of Post-Laminectomy Syndrome
At Downtown Pain Physicians we understand chronic pain and will work with you to find the best treatment option available. There typically will be a few different treatments prescribed so we can give you long-lasting relief and help you get back to the activities of daily living that you’ve been missing out on. Some of the treatment options you may encounter include:
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatories or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Epidural steroid injections
The most confusing thing about post-laminectomy syndrome is that it is so individualized and difficult to define. It really is simply pain that happens after a person has laminectomy surgery. It shouldn’t be assumed that because you’re having pain after surgery that the surgery failed, it could simply be that your body is having a difficult time recovering and will be fine, given enough time.
A thorough examination is recommended to assess your individual situation and to see what’s actually going on and how your post-laminectomy pain can be addressed. Try not to get too frustrated or discouraged. The best-rated pain doctors in Brooklyn and Manhattan are here to help you find the relief you’re looking for and to help you get back to living the lifestyle you want to live.
The information on this website is to provide general information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive treatment advice. It is essential to consult a best-in-class pain management specialist in New York regarding ANY questions or issues. A thorough evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call your pain doctor to schedule a consultation.
Dr. Raj Raval, M.D.
- Board Certified
- Interventional Pain & Musculoskeletal Medicine Specialist
Education & training
- SUNY Downstate PMR Residency
- Rutgers University Fellowship