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It is estimated that approximately 20-40% of the nearly 200,000 Americans who undergo spine surgery each year will have some degree of recurrent or persistent spinal or leg pain. Many individuals who undergo surgery, despite good surgical technique and initial post-operative course, may continue experience symptoms. Despite the considerable variability in each of these post-operative pain patients, it is not uncommon for these patients to be categorized in the diagnostic wastebasket known as Post-Laminectomy Syndrome or Failed Back Syndrome.

Appropriate management of this often-debilitating diagnosis begins with a thorough and systematic evaluation of potential pain generating structures. This is particularly true in patients whose history is made even more complex by prior surgery. In-depth evaluation of post-laminectomy syndrome may routinely include any combination of studies such as contrast enhanced MRI’s, flexion-extension x-rays, nerve conduction/EMG studies or fluoro-guided diagnostic spinal injections. Using a combination of these studies is necessary to better localize abnormal structures that are commonly responsible for generating the post-surgical pain pattern.

Typically correctible causes of post-operative spine or leg pain may include recurrent or new disc herniation, retained disc fragments, incomplete decompression surgery (as seen in far lateral stenosis), post-operative spinal or pelvic ligamentous instability (such as SI joint dysfunction), scar formation (i. e. arachnoiditis or epidural fibrosis), and recurrent myofascial pain. When accurately diagnosed, many of these painful conditions can be effectively managed with a broad array of non-surgical approaches.

Despite many advances in surgical techniques, post-laminectomy pain continues to be a relatively common occurrence. An accurate diagnosis is vital to a more rapid resolution and hopeful correction of pain. Using state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment techniques, many patients can go on to lead productive and pain-controlled lives.

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13710 Olive Boulevard (Primary Office)
Chesterfield, MO 63017
Telephone: 314-469-PAIN (7246)

Fax: 314-469-7251
Exchange: 314-441-6965 (for after-hour Emergencies Only)

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