Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Q: I was recently diagnosed with Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS). Is this a real disease?! What does it mean?

A: FBSS is a chronic pain condition that may be diagnosed after multiple surgical intervention fail to correct (or worse yet, exacerbate) pain caused by spinal and cervical abnormalities. Typically, patients receive this diagnosis from a spinal surgeon and/or neurologist whose medical specialty and training permit them to conclude that the patient has an irreversible condition which cannot be improved through further surgical intervention.

FBSS is a frustrating – even devastating – diagnosis to receive. Those living with chronic pain may experience difficulties with memory and concentration, and likely experience depression and irritability resulting from the permanent inability to engage in activities they previously enjoyed. In addition, many patients with FBSS or other chronic pain conditions develop dependence and/or additions to narcotic pain medications, which spawn an entirely new category of problems.

While medical intervention may be of limited use for those with FBSS, there may be legal avenues available to alleviate some of the financial losses which follow from an inability to work due to chronic pain. First, if the underlying condition was caused by a motor vehicle or other type of accident, a personal injury attorney can help to assess whether you could seek compensation for the negligence or fault of another person. If the injury stems from a workplace accident, or from the stress of repetitive work activities, people with FBSS should consider speaking with a workers’ compensation attorney at the earliest possible opportunity to assess whether a workers’ compensation claim is warranted. Finally, if the limitations posed by FBSS have rendered you unable to work a full-time job, consider speaking to a Social Security Disability attorney. Social Security disability was designed to insure that those rendered unable to work due to a medical condition would not be left destitute.

If you have received a diagnosis of FBSS and want to speak with an attorney about your options, our attorneys would happy to answer any question that we can, and/or to direct you to any other attorneys within our referral network if you have additional questions that we cannot answer.