What is Post-Laminectomy Syndrome?
Spinal surgeons perform back surgery on patients to help reduce or eliminate their chronic back or leg pain. Most patients who undergo these procedures are seeking relief from conditions like spinal nerve compression. In some cases however, the procedure may fail to achieve all of the desired outcomes, resulting in what’s known as Post-Laminectomy Syndrome. Post-Laminectomy Syndrome is also sometimes referred to as Failed Back Surgery Syndrome. The term is used to describe the persistent back or leg pain that a small number of patients experience following surgery of the back.
What Causes Post-Laminectomy Syndrome?
Each year, as much as 20 percent of Americans still have some degree of lingering pain in their legs or back after undergoing spinal surgery. Some of this pain is persistent in nature, and is described by many patients as a diffuse, dull and aching pain involving the back and/or legs. Laminectomy is a procedure in which the surgeon removes a part of the vertebrae that protects the spinal cord. This surgery is usually performed in an effort to relieve additional pressure placed on the spinal cord from protruding discs within the spine. Most patients experience a successful recovery from this procedure without any major issues. The individuals who do experience complications from their surgery can develop post-laminectomy syndrome. This syndrome can be attributed to several factors, including the following:
- The surgery wasn’t necessary.
- The surgery didn’t achieve the desired outcome.
- There’s an underlying condition preventing the surgery from being a success, such as conditions like spinal stenosis.
- There’s debris or other miniscule parts from the disc still remaining within the spinal cord, causing immediate pain.
Symptoms of Post-Laminectomy Syndrome
Most people with post-laminectomy syndrome feel some degree of pain that originates from their spinal cord. This pain is characterized by a dull, aching sensation within the spinal column. Some patients may also experience pain in the form of a prickling, sharp and/or stabbing sensation, which is known as neuropathic pain. This type of pain radiates from the back and down into the legs. The symptoms of post-laminectomy syndrome can make it difficult for most people to carry out their normal day-to-day activities. The pain from post-laminectomy can also lead to depression and anxiety as patients experience emotional difficulties and trouble sleeping due to their chronic pain.
Post-Laminectomy Syndrome Treatment
Treatment for post-laminectomy syndrome varies based on the patient. Painkillers or other prescription medications are the most common treatment method for post-laminectomy syndrome. Some doctors prescribe morphine-based painkillers for patients to control their pain. Patients who take these medications are monitored to ensure they do not become dependent on them. Physical therapy is another treatment option that is frequently used in post-laminectomy syndrome treatment. Physical therapists can help people with post-laminectomy syndrome regain mobility and relieve pain within their bodies. Some specialist therapies, such as epidural nerve blocks, may help treat pain on a long term basis.
Schedule a Consultation to Discuss Treating Post-Laminectomy Syndrome
If you are experiencing chronic post-surgical pain after back or neck surgery, you may be suffering from post-laminectomy syndrome. Our providers are familiar with this condition and are prepared to help you get back to living a pain-free life. A thorough evaluation and diagnostic testing will help to identify the underlying problem and the best way to go about treating your particular symptoms. Please give our office a call today at (512) 981-7246 to request an appointment with an Austin pain management doctor to discuss post-laminectomy syndrome treatment in Austin. You can also get started by requesting an appointment online.