New Treatment Hope for Pain Back After Surgery


Early studies have found that a simple procedure to remove scar tissue could help people who have continued lower back and leg pain following lumbar spine surgery.

The procedure could reduce the risk of people having to have repeated back surgery.

Compressed nerves

Lumbar decompression surgery is a procedure used to treat compressed nerves in the lower spine. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions including sciatica, slipped discs and spinal injuries.

Although a certain amount of pain is expected immediately after surgery, most people who have this operation find the pain and swelling goes within six weeks.

However, it is relatively common for people to continue to have lower back or leg pain following lumbar decompression surgery.

Lower back pain

Continuing pain following the operation can mean that re-surgery is needed. With each procedure, the chances of pain being eliminated completely are reduced.

Scientists from Boston University School of Medicine in the US have found that a simple procedure could help people who suffer from lower back pain following lumbar spine surgery.

The procedure, called Simplified Epiduralysis After Laminectomy/fusion (SEAL), involves breaking up scar tissue or adhesions that are pushing up against the nerves, causing the pain. It is done using an epidural (an injection into the back).

Pain relief

In a preliminary study, the procedure was performed on 30 patients who had continued to have lower back or leg pain after lumbar decompression surgery.

Pain relief was reported in the short or medium term by 74% of the patients. Almost 40% of the patients reported having more than 50% pain relief.

The patients were followed up after three years. It was found that only one patient out of the 30 went on to have repeated lumbar spine surgery.

There are more complex procedures available that can help with failed back surgery, but this technique is a simple procedure that can be done in one outpatient visit – meaning the patient does not need to stay in hospital.

Trial planned

These initial findings appeared in the journal Pain Medicine. Author, Michael Perloff, Assistant Professor of Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine said: “SEAL could be an efficacious intervention for failed back surgery with a simplified procedure, lower costs, shorter procedure times and minimal adverse events.”

A clinical trial is planned.


This article was written by a third party source and does not reflect the views or opinions of Ramsay Health Care unless explicitly stated.

Additional comments on the page from individual Consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other Consultants or Ramsay Health Care.

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