Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is a generalized term used to describe the condition of a patient whose initial spinal surgery was unsuccessful. As a result of the unsuccessful spine surgery, a patient may still be dealing with the same pain as before or the surgery has led to more significant problems and worsening pain.

A study published in the February 15, 2018 issue of the medical journal Spine evaluated the cumulative reoperation rate and indications for reoperation following instrumented lumbar spine fusion (LSF).


Study Details

A total of 433 consecutive patients (64% women, mean age 62 years) who underwent LSF in Tampere University Hospital (Finland) between 2008 and 2011 were evaluated. Indications for reoperations were rechecked from patient records and radiographs. The most common diagnosis for the primary surgery was degenerative spondylolisthesis.

Study Results

  • By the end of 2013, 81 patients had undergone at least one reoperation.
  • The cumulative reoperation rate at 2 years was 12.5%;  at 4 years was 19.3%.
  • The most common pathology leading to reoperation was adjacent segment pathology with a cumulative reoperation rate of 8.7%  at 4 years.
  • The corresponding rates for early and late instrumentation failure were 4.4%  and 2.9% , respectively, and for acute complications, 2.5%.

Study authors concluded that although previous studies reported that early results of spinal fusion are promising, one in five patients required reoperation within 4 years after surgery. Patients and surgeons should be aware of the reoperation rates when planning fusion surgery.

Find Pain Relief – Without Fusions

There are many factors to consider if you have been recommended a fusion surgery. There are also many cases in which the outpatient Bonati Spine Procedures can provide a less invasive and more targeted alternative to fusion. If you’re seeking treatment for chronic neck or back pain, allow our surgeons to review your case before making any final decisions.  Over 60,000 patented Bonati Spine Procedures have been performed with a 98.75% patient reported satisfaction rating.  To get your review process started, call 855-267-0482 or complete our MRI review form.

To access the full study and study abstract, visit Spine here:

There are many case studies out there that suggest patients avoid spinal fusions. You can read more about these studies, here: case 1case 2case 3,  case 4,  case 5 and case 6.