Failed back surgery, sometimes referred to as a ‘multiply-operated back’, denotes surgical procedures that did not result in a significant improvement in the patient’s quality of life. Often, this condition is deemed inoperable, with patients frequently being referred for chronic pain management.
Understanding Failed Back Surgery
Conventionally, failed back surgery results from surgical interventions that didn’t achieve their desired outcomes. While there are treatments available post such surgeries, they are often limited in their scope and effectiveness. Some conventional treatments include:
- Revision discectomy (Microdiscectomy), with or without fusion.
- Open decompression and/or fusion following successful discectomy.
- Chronic pain management, cognitive behavioural therapy, and reliance on pain management tools like Dorsal Column Stimulator.
Issues with Conventional Diagnosis
Traditional diagnosis, based on clinical findings, X-rays, and scans, can be misleading. Perfectly executed surgeries might not always correlate with relief from symptoms, making it essential to look beyond conventional diagnostic tools.
Advantages of Aware State Diagnosis
Rather than relying solely on MRI scans and pain patterns, aware state surgical examination allows surgeons to identify pain sources more accurately. With the patient awake and providing feedback, surgeons can pinpoint the exact cause of the pain.
Advanced diagnostic procedures such as spinal probing and hydraulic discography can help in accurately identifying the causal segment, ensuring that surgeries target the right areas.
Alternative Treatment Options
Transforaminal Endoscopic Lumbar Decompression & Foraminoplasty (ELDF) offers a precise treatment approach with minimal tissue damage and enhanced long-term outcomes. This minimally invasive technique is particularly beneficial for elderly patients and those who might not be ideal candidates for conventional surgeries.
Why Choose ELDF Over Conventional Surgery?
ELDF offers targeted treatment, eliminating the need for multi-level surgeries often associated with conventional methods. Additionally, post-surgery, patients can mobilize within hours, reducing the risk of nerve re-tethering. For cases following segmental fusion or total disc replacement, ELDF provides a safe and effective solution.
Aware State Diagnosis and ELDF Surgery have shown promising results, with over 80% of patients reporting improvement 2-4 years post-surgery and 70% even after 10 years.