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Post Laminectomy Syndrome

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Postlaminetcomy syndrome

Post-Laminectomy Syndrome or Failed Back Syndrome  is the description of a chronic painful condition that affects some patients recovering from a laminectomy or back surgery. The portions of the vertebrae that connect the main body of the bone to the spinous process are the lamina, which are the protrusions felt on the back through the skin. A laminectomy is the removal of lamina and associated bone spurs, relieving pressure built up on the spinal nerves in several back conditions. Post-Laminectomy Syndrome is a general term describing chronic pain syndromes experienced by patients coming out of any number of back surgeries. Post-laminectomy syndrome is not a diagnosis and the cause is unknown. One of the primary theories involves when scar tissue develops in the epidural space of the spine during healing. Some of the other possible causes of Post-Laminectomy Syndrome include: incomplete removal of the lamina, arachnoiditis (inflammation within the protective layers of the spinal cord), and psychosocial problems (depression, anxiety) interfering with recovery.

When a patient comes out of back surgery and experiences significant pain or if the post-surgical outcome is less than satisfactory, a physician will likely treat a patient for Post-Laminectomy Syndrome. This often involves lab work and/or radiological imaging in order to properly identify possible irregularities where the lamina were removed.

Depending on the individual, different treatment plans will be made in order to maximize relief. One of the treatment option is opioid medication, which can be effective, but can also have side-effects that are not desired by a patient. Spinal cord stimulation is also often used in order to disrupt pain signals and replace them with a tingling sensation. Although post-laminectomy syndrome can be long lasting and can significantly interfere with an individual’s lifestyle, proper treatment can provide reasonable pain management.

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