The American Society of Anesthesiologists estimates that between 20 and 40% of back surgeries fail. Patients who undergo repeated back surgeries have a much higher chance of failure. One study found that only 30% of second back surgeries are successful. The number decreases for the third and fourth back surgeries, with a success rate of 15 and 5%, respectively.
Despite these warnings, many men with nonspecific low back pain continue to opt for fusion. Often, they have already tried physical therapy and other non-surgical measures, but they still end up with disabling pain.