Failed back syndrome: a study on 95 patients submitted to reintervention after lumbar nerve root decompression for the treatment of spondylotic lesions.

M. Laus, C. Alfonso, D. Tigani, G. Pignatti, D. Ferrari, A. Giunti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The persistence of lumbar and nerve root pain after nerve root decompression surgery may be attributed to one of five causes; 1) progression of the spondylotic disease in the presence of peridural fibrosis; 2) recurrence of disc herniation or new hernia; 3) stenosis of the spinal or nerve root canal; 4) arachnoiditis; 5) vertebral instability. In most patients with peridural fibrosis and worsening of spondylotic lesions regression of nerve root symptoms was obtained after several months of conservative treatment, which continues to constitute essential treatment for most patients with recurrence of lumbar symptoms. The authors report the results obtained with the surgical treatment of 95 patients performed between 1981 and 1991 and divided into the categories listed above. Of these patients, 70 were submitted to further decompression surgery while 25 were submitted to posterolateral vertebral fusion. Reintervention obtained useful results in 83% of the cases where there had been recurrence of disc herniation; nerve root release obtained positive results in 100% of the cases where there was stenosis. Results obtained after wide decompression were poor in all of the cases with arachnoiditis; in these patients conservative treatment with T.E.N.S. can obtain a fair amount of control over pain. Positive results were obtained in 84% of the 25 patients submitted to posterolateral fusion for the treatment of vertebral instability, with fusion obtained in 96% of the cases. Surgical treatment is indicated for psychotic, neurotic patients or those with insurance-related motivations only when the organic cause of the symptoms is clearly evident.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-126
Number of pages8
JournalLa Chirurgia degli organi di movimento
Volume79
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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