Laser Spine Surgery - A Short Review

Commonly known as laser back surgery, a laser spine surgery is a new method of minimally invasive procedure deployed in the treatment of several back conditions. The spine, named the vertebral column in anatomy (or backbone in common language), is a column composed of 33 vertebrae, their intervertebral discs, and the sacrum and coccyx. It is positioned to the backside of the human body, and its main role is for support and protection for the spinal cord. The spinal cord’s main function is the transmission of neural impulses to motor functions and from sensory areas.

Back pain is a common condition, affecting the musculoskeletal structure of the spine. It can be acute, sub acute and chronic. Symptoms may subside in a few months, or they may tend to recur with different intensities. This may show that the condition will become chronic, and cause disruptions in the sufferer’s daily activities. Studies show that this will affect most adults, at different stages in their life. It is also a common complaint for doctor visits and sick leaves. It creates more disability problems than any other medical condition.

Treatments include physiotherapy, chiropractic interventions or in some cases surgery. Traditional surgery methods include large open incisions that allow the surgeon to see and operate the affected tissues. However, laser surgery recently caught up more ground and became mainstream, showing a great popularity on patients that have been given the procedure. The spine surgery requires only a small incision and does little damages to muscles and conjunctive tissues as compared to traditional methods. The operation is shorter and requires lesser anesthetics. A guiding needle will be inserted into the desired region, and the surgeon will insert lighting and microscopic video equipment, allowing the precise distinction of affected regions. A laser probe is then inserted and activated at different angles to instantly vaporize or burn damaged or unwanted tissue.

Patients will be relieved of their pain in just hours, and only a few days of hospitalized care is needed. Depending on the clinic and geographic area, insurance providers might not cover the cost of this relatively new procedure. The good news is that such a procedure costs 70-80% less than traditional methods and is generally affordable.

With the simple laser scalpel a wide variety of surgical procedures can be implemented, such as herniated or bulging discs, scar tissue removal, and facet thermal ablation. It is the preferred method for conditions like degenerative disc disease, pinched nerves, bone spurs, spine arthritis, spine stenosis and foraminal stenosis.

Medical records following the use of the procedure have shown a lower rate of complications and failures, most of them being influenced by other systems and conditions. Most patients that will undergo laser spine surgery will shed constant pains that might have affected them for years.