Lumbar post-laminectomy syndrome


Lumbar post-laminectomy syndrome (failed back surgery syndrome) means that a patient continues to experience significant pain after they have had a spine surgery.

What causes lumbar post-laminectomy syndrome?


There are a large number of potential causes of lumbar post-laminectomy syndrome. Muscle spasms may be due to either trauma during an injury or surgery or may be due to poor pre-operative conditioning. Facet-joint arthritis is a common cause of pain in the lower back that is not corrected by surgery. Re-herniation of a lumbar intervertebral disc is a complication in up to 15% of spine surgery. Pre-existing nerve root damage (lumbar radiculopathy) is often irreversible, and therefore continues after surgery with the same sciatic pain. Scar tissue formation is also implicated in nerve root pain and injury after spine surgery. Arachnoiditis, a specific form of nerve scarring, is a significant risk in patients with post-operative infections and multiple spine surgeries. Finally, there is recent evidence that indicates that high doses of pain medications prior to surgery may be a pre-operative risk factor in the development of post-laminectomy syndrome.

What are the symptoms of Lumbar post-laminectomy syndrome?


  • Pain in the lower back, legs, or feet
  • Lumbar muscle spasms
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Hot or cold sensations
  • Feelings of electrical shocks
  • Weakness