Laser spine surgery is an alternative to spinal fusions undergone to alleviate pain in the back and the neck. With this minimally invasive surgery, the physician uses a laser to remove bone spurs offering relief to nerves herniated disc and other ailments that may cause severe back pain. Laser surgery is generally a last resort after pain medications and physical therapy have failed to offer long term relief.
Traditionally, back surgeries have required large invasive incisions with months of recovering (including rehabilitation) following. With the most recent medical technologies, a new procedure known as the endoscopy is now used. The endoscopy allows for the procedure to be minimally invasive and there is a recovery period as short as one week. Endoscopic surgery uses endoscopic tubes that minimize soft tissue and muscle damage.
Laser spine surgery is generally performed as an outpatient surgery and uses a local anesthetic. The surgeon inserts a small tube followed by larger tubes placed one at a time over the first, smaller tube. This technique dilates the skin and muscles without cutting or tearing. The final tube placed is about 18 millimeters in diameter. After the final tube is placed, the smaller tubes are removed and the surgeon operates through the remaining tube using lasers, a fiber optic camera, suction, irrigation and other instruments.
A benefit of laser spine surgery would be the use of only local anesthesia eliminating the risk associated with general anesthesia. This means that the patient remains awake during the procedure (which often provides additional comfort). Another benefit of laser spine surgery is that there is little to no scaring. Since the main tool utilized during the surgery is a laser, there is no need for extensive cutting. This also shortens hospital stay. The recovery time for laser spine surgery is almost immediate and the entire procedure only takes about one hour. Lastly, with laser spine surgery patients tend to bleed less during surgery and there is minimal scar tissue formation.
As with any surgery there are drawbacks. Long term effects of laser spine surgery are not well documented since the procedure is fairly new. Some patients have reported damage to their bowels as a result of surgery while other patients have reported that they have no noticed any improvements in pain at all. Another drawback would be the cost of surgery. Laser spine surgery can start at around $30,000 and higher. This procedure is not covered by most insurance plans and is matched with no guarantees so there is the great risk of losing money. Infection is a risk with most surgeries especially at the site on incision. Mistakes are a drawback of spine surgery, as well. There have been several cases where patients have undergone additional surgery to repair damage acquired during laser surgery. It is stated that endoscopic spine surgery has been known to leaves patients vulnerable to repeat surgeries. Lastly, there is an inherent risk of numbness, bleeding, tingling, and spinal fluid leakage.
Be sure to exhaust all other possibilities before undergoing laser spine surgery. If you would like any more information please feel free to visit losethebackpain.com.
Written By: Updated: June 29,2011