Post-Laminectomy Syndrome

The Spinal Nerve Root Does Not Recover From Trauma

About 500,000 spine surgeries are performed in the U.S. each year but are not always successful.

Post-Laminectomy Syndrome Facts & Information

Spine surgeons perform back surgery to reduce or eliminate chronic back or leg pain due to spinal nerve compression. Should surgery fail to achieve all of its desired outcomes, the result is known as Post-Laminectomy Syndrome (sometimes called Failed Back Surgery).

When accurately diagnosed, most post-surgical pain can be managed effectively. If you are among those who continue to suffer from back and or leg pain after surgery, you know the frustration and despair this can cause. Our pain management experts are highly skilled in determining the true source of your pain and providing the most effective non-surgical approaches available.

Up to 20 percent of Americans who undergo spine surgery each year still have some degree of persistent back or leg pain afterwards. When spine surgery does not achieve the results desired by you and your physician, the condition is then referred to as Post-Laminectomy Syndrome.

Why Does Post-Laminectomy Syndrome Develop?

A variety of factors may cause Post-Laminectomy Syndrome. In many cases, the spinal nerve root, which has been decompressed by the surgery, simply does not fully recover from its prior trauma and continues to be a source of chronic nerve pain or sciatica. In other instances, the body’s way of healing includes scar formation, which can surround the nerve roots and give rise to chronic pain. Another relatively common occurrence is the presence of structural changes in the spine that develop above or below the site of a spinal fusion. Other causes include recurrent or new disc herniation, post-operative spinal or pelvic ligament instability, such as SI joint dysfunction and myofascial pain.


-Similar pain you experienced prior to surgery (depends on each case)
-Dull and achy pain that is primarily located in the spinal column
-Sharp, pricking, and stabbing pain – commonly referred to as neuropathic pain
-Leg pain


Proper diagnosis starts with an experienced pain management doctor. The type of pain that you may have with post-laminectomy syndrome can be similar to the symptoms of several types of disorders. Accurately determining the correct source of your pain is critical to successful treatment.

-Begins with a thorough clinical evaluation
-Including a complete medical history, analysis of your symptoms, and physical examination
-Testing may include x-rays, MRI and/or CT scans, and electro-diagnosis (EMG)
-These advanced diagnostic techniques definitively pinpoint the source of pain