Jaseng Spine and Joint Research Institute

Demographic characteristics and medical service use of failed back surgery syndrome patients at an integrated treatment hospital focusing on complementary and alternative medicine: a retrospective review of electronic medical records


Objective. To report the patient demographics and nonsurgical complementary and alternative medicine treatment used at a Korean medicine hospital for low back pain (LBP) and/or sciatica after surgery. Methods. Medical records of patients who visited a spine-specialized Korean medicine hospital at 2 separate sites for continuous or recurrent LBP or sciatica following back surgery were reviewed. The demographics, MRI and/or CT scans, and treatments were assessed. Results. Of the total 707 patients, 62% were male and the average age was 50.20 years. Ninety percent of patients presented with LBP and 67% with sciatica. Eighty-four percent were diagnosed with herniated nucleus pulposus at time of surgery. Of these patients, 70% had pain recurrence 6 months or later, but 19% experienced no relief or immediate aggravation of pain after surgery. Many patients selected traditional Korean medicine treatment as primary means of post-surgery care (47%). When time to pain recurrence was short or pain persisted after surgery, return of symptoms at the same disc level and side was frequent. Conclusion. An integrative treatment model focusing on Korean medicine and used in conjunction with radiological diagnostics and conventional medicine is currently used as a treatment option for patients with pain after lumbar spine surgery.