What Is Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is the term often used to describe persistent pain following back or spine surgery. Spine surgery is performed to:

  • Decompress pinched nerve roots
  • Stabilize a segment of the spine that is moving abnormally
  • Correct spinal deformity

Unfortunately, spine surgery cannot directly cure pain. It is only able to change the anatomy of the spine that is a probable cause of back pain.

Incidence of FBSS

  • An estimated 10 to 40 percent of people undergoing back surgery are affected.
  • Even with the best surgeon and outcomes, surgery is no more than 95 percent effective.