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J Pain Res. 2017 Apr 6;10:811-823. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S129295. eCollection 2017.

Prevalence, characteristics, and burden of failed back surgery syndrome: the influence of various residual symptoms on patient satisfaction and quality of life as assessed by a nationwide Internet survey in Japan.

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Multidisciplinary Pain Center.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.
Institute of Physical Fitness, Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, Aichi Medical University, Aichi, Japan.


We conducted a cross-sectional, Internet-based survey with a nationally representative sample of Japanese adults to assess the prevalence and characteristics of failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS). Data regarding the residual symptoms and patient satisfaction from an online survey of 1842 lumbar surgery patients revealed the prevalence of FBSS to be 20.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 18.8-22.6). The prevalence of low back pain, dull ache, numbness, cold sensations, and paresthesia after surgery was 94.0%, 71.1%, 69.8%, 43.3%, and 35.3%, respectively. With a logistic regression model, severe residual low back pain (numerical rating scale 8-10), higher pain intensity, and multiple low back surgeries were strongly associated with FBSS, with odds ratios of 15.21 (95% CI, 7.79-29.7), 1.40 (95% CI, 1.32-1.49), and 1.87 (95% CI, 1.25-2.81), respectively. Respondents with FBSS had significantly lower EuroQol-5D (P<0.001) values and significantly higher scores on the Kessler six-item psychological distress scale (P<0.001), compared with the non-FBSS group. Our findings indicate that residual sensations have a significant effect on patient quality of life, similar to that of chronic low back pain. Precise presurgical provision of prognoses based on comprehensive epidemiologic data, as well as scrupulous attention to patient satisfaction and clinical progress may help reduce the incidence of FBSS.


failed back surgery syndrome; numbness; patient satisfaction; prevalence; residual symptom

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.

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