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Failed Back Surgery and Nerve Root Blocks: Renowned Surgeon Dr. Kaixuan Liu Explains Causes for Failed Spine Surgery and Tips for Understanding Solutions
Date:7/31/2013

West Orange, NJ (PRWEB) July 31, 2013

Failed back surgery isn't simple to explain. You can blame it on the complexity of the task—the spine, after all, comprises a jumble of bony vertebrae and joints, shock-absorbing discs and nerve bundles and is utterly essential for normal functioning. Or you can blame it on the numbers: The U.S. has roughly twice as many back surgeries as any other developed nation, more than 1.2 million operations every year, and Americans’ annual spending for spinal care has nearly doubled in the last decade. But no matter how complicated or common it is, traditional “open” spine surgery is notoriously unreliable. In fact, statistics show that as many as 50 percent of these operations are unsuccessful: They result in continued (or even increased) pain, a condition known as failed back surgery syndrome, or FBSS.

Back surgeries can fail—and symptoms of FBSS can develop—for a few reasons, says Kaixuan Liu, MD, PhD, chief surgeon at Atlantic Spine Center. “We know that many cases of FBSS are the result of misdiagnosis,” Dr. Liu says. “Spinal surgery is designed to correct an anatomical problem—a damaged disc, perhaps, or an arthritic joint—that appears to be causing the patient’s pain. Misdiagnosing the problem means that the pain will probably remain, even if the problem was corrected—because that problem wasn’t the source of the pain.”

Despite the very real danger of failed back surgery syndrome, traditional spine surgery is performed fairly frequently for patients with chronic back and neck pain, Dr. Liu continues. The most popular operations include spinal decompression and spinal fusions using cages, bone grafts
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