Post Laminectomy Syndrome and How to Treat It
Have you ever suffered from such agonizing pain, that you had to undergo back or neck surgery to improve your quality of life? After, you discover your pain has not stopped post-surgery, and may even have worsened. If this is you, you may be suffering from a common condition associated with chronic, post-operative back or neck pain, called Post Laminectomy Syndrome or failed back or neck surgery syndrome. So what exactly does this involve, and how can it be treated? Read further to find out.
What is Post Laminectomy Syndrome and Its Causes?
This occurs when a patient still experiences pain after undergoing a laminectomy or another form of back surgery. A laminectomy is a surgical procedure where a section of your vertebral bone or lamina is removed. This is considered major surgery and can leave you with scar tissue build-up or fibrosis, which may become painful. Painful scar tissue may also form around your lumbar root nerve after a discectomy. The scar tissue then attaches itself to your nerve roots via fibrous adhesions, which can cause pain.
This syndrome has different variations. You may have had surgery, recovered, and have now developed a new spinal issue. Or your surgery might have gone as planned, only for you to discover that your pain has not stopped at all. You may have also developed a post-surgery nerve injury or infection. Other causes of post laminectomy syndrome include:
- Facet joint irregularities and problems
- An unstable spine
- Root nerve compression
- Recurring disc herniation
Symptoms to Look For
The most common post-operative pain here is neck pain and low back pain also referred to as axial spine pain. This pain is caused by surgical complications, spondylosis, muscle spasms, or a disc herniation. Other symptoms include:
- Neurological pain causing cold and heat sensations
- A sense of weakness in the affected area
- A feeling of heaviness in the painful region
- Dysfunction of your bowel or bladder
How is Post Laminectomy Syndrome Diagnosed?
Your healthcare practitioner will conduct a thorough medical examination, as well as a medical history of your back problems, treatments, and surgeries. He or she may also conduct an MRI, various X-rays, and electromyography or EMG. You may also undergo a fluoroscopy-guided spinal injection to diagnose your condition.
Different Treatment Options for Post Laminectomy Syndrome
Continued physiotherapy could be beneficial in relieving recurring back and neck pain, post-surgery. You could also go to a chiropractor or try anti-seizure medicine. Some antidepressants can also help lessen nerve pain.
If you’re a Post Laminectomy Syndrome or failed back surgery syndrome patient and need pain relief, why not try one of our effective interventional treatments. Midsouth Pain Treatment Center offers the following:
This method helps reduce post-operative neck and back pain. It’s not too invasive and does not require any surgery, as the nerve causing your pain is burned via an electrode attached to a small needle. This prevents the transmission of pain signals to your brain.
You are given a local anesthetic to ease any discomfort along the treatment area, before we direct the needle, with the guidance of a special x-ray to your nerves. A radio-frequency current is then placed via the needle to form scar tissue along the pain-causing nerve. This electric impulse effectively destroys the part of the nerve that transmits pain signals to your brain. Risks include temporary nerve pain and numbness.
Epidural Steroid Injection
This involves injecting a solution containing steroids into your epidural space to relieve pain associated with neck and back pain resulting from a laminectomy. The steroid has an anti-inflammatory effect, thus reducing any possible swelling you may have too.
The treatment area is first numbed with anesthesia before we insert the needle there. We then place a tiny catheter via the needle into your epidural space, before injecting the steroid. Some of the risks here include temporary numbing of your bladder or bowels and bleeding if you have a bleeding disorder.
Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS)
The benefits of those suffering from chronic pain along the spine and neck. You’ll also become less dependent on pain medication if you choose this treatment. With this technique, a Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) is surgically placed beneath your skin via a tiny incision, to conduct a tiny electrical current to your spine.
The SCS activates and stimulates the nerves in the painful area of your neck or back. This stimulation eradicates your chronic pain, as the electrical pulses from the SCS stop your nerves from conveying or registering pain signals. Procedural risks here are possible spinal fluid leakage, headaches, and bleeding.
Facet Joint Blocks
This method helps reduce pain and inflammation linked to your neck and back by accessing your facet joints. The technique uses CT imagining to direct a needle with anti-inflammatory medication and an anesthetic into the facet joint closest to the painful area. The risks of this treatment are rare but may include pain and discomfort at the injection site, an allergic reaction to the medications used, and infection.
Call us today so one of our pain management specialists can help you find the best treatment for you.