1.888.957.7463 [email protected]

Exploration of Spinal Fusion


Some patients who undergo spinal fusion surgery continue to experience pain or have worse pain after the spinal fusion. This is referred to as Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS). There are several causes of FBSS, ranging from the failure to identify the actual source of pain to the spinal fusion not healing properly. Scar tissue or a missed piece of bone fragment can also cause FBSS.

Exploration of spinal fusion is a procedure to identify the problem with the original spinal fusion surgery and correct it. Exploration of spinal fusion is performed using conscious sedation and local anesthetic so that you’re comfortable throughout the procedure, but responsive and able to provide feedback to the surgeon so the exact source of your pain can be identified and corrected. This is performed using minimally invasive surgery as opposed to open back surgery. Minimally invasive spine surgery is performed through a tiny incision. Recovery is much faster, and the risk of bleeding and complications is considerably lower than with traditional open surgery.

If you’re still living with chronic or worsening back pain after trying other treatments, Back Pain Centers of America (BPC) can help. Our minimally invasive spine treatment options have helped thousands of patients find relief from debilitating back pain. Call us today at [sc name=”patient_phone_number_dash”] to be matched with a board-certified specialist who can help you get on the path to a life without back pain.

Explore nature following exploration of spinal fusion


Exploration of spinal fusion can help the surgeon pinpoint the source of your pain with accuracy. The incision measures approximately an inch, and the instruments and imaging used allow the surgeon to identify and repair any issues without disrupting muscles and other tissues. Exploration of spinal fusion is an outpatient procedure and most patients can go home the same day. Recovery is less painful and much quicker than with traditional open surgery.

Conditions/Symptoms Treated

Exploration of spinal fusion is used to treat FBSS and relieve the symptoms that were not resolved by a previous spinal fusion procedure or new or worsening symptoms.

Symptoms of FBSS include:

  • Chronic pain affecting the back, buttock, or leg
  • Pain located near the part of the spine originally treated
  • New pain and spinal conditions
  • Mobility issues
  • Back or neck pain
  • Numbness or weakness in the leg
  • Decreased flexibility
  • Muscle spasms


Preparation instructions will be given before your failed back surgery syndrome treatment. Your preparation will require you to do the following:

  • Stop smoking for a period before and after the procedure – Tobacco slows healing and has been linked to various spine conditions.
  • Stop taking certain medications and supplements – Some medications and supplements increase the risk of bleeding. You will be told which to stop taking and for how long.
  • Fast for 6-12 hours – You will be told exactly when to stop eating and drinking before your spinal fusion procedure.
  • Arrange a ride home – You should not drive after surgery and need to arrange a ride home.

The Procedure: What to Expect

You will be given local anesthetic so you don’t feel anything during your exploration of spinal fusion and conscious sedation through an IV will ensure that you are comfortable for the entire procedure but still able to respond to the surgeon. An X-ray called fluoroscopy is used so the surgeon can view your spine for accuracy.

A tiny incision is made at the area of your previous spinal fusion surgery, and thin tubes are inserted with a scope and camera so the surgeon can find the hardware used during your failed spinal fusion surgery and the source of your symptoms. Special instruments are used to remove any scar or bone tissue, or hardware that is compressing a nerve.

Once the problem has been identified and corrected, you will be sent to the recovery room to be monitored for a few hours.


Pain at the incision site is normal and can be managed using pain medication and by applying ice. You may be prescribed physical therapy to assist in your rehabilitation and restore your range of motion. The doctor will let you know when you can return to work and other activities after your exploration of spinal fusion.

The minimally invasive back pain treatments offered by BPC are the next step on the road to recovery. We’ve helped over 30,000 people just like you who are now on their path to healing. Call us at [sc name=”patient_phone_number_dash”] today and take the first step toward life beyond back pain.

Step 1 of 2

  • Find a Spine Institute
    Close to Home

    Simply enter your zip code to get started on your road to recovery
  • logo

Did you know?

over 87 million people suffer
from back pain

<h5>Treatments</h5><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] -->[listmenu menu="treatments"]

FREE E-BOOK to Support Your Journey

Download Now »

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

© 2019 Back Pain Centers of America. Back Pain Centers of America does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information on this website is not designed to replace a doctor's judgment or course of treatment. All physicians and practices operate independent of and are in no way owned or controlled by Back Pain Centers of America. Results and recovery times may vary. User Agreement and Privacy Policy.

**Medicaid not currently accepted. Certain limitations apply to free MRI review.