What is Laser Spine Surgery?

Laser spine surgery is a type of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS). The aim of this surgery is to minimize post-surgical pain and have you return to your normal activities as soon as possible.

What happens in Laser Spine Surgery?

Much like an arthroscopy for a knee injury, MISS uses endoscopic surgical procedures. This means that a small incision can be made (less than one inch long) in the surgical area.  A series of small tubes are then inserted through this small incision. Endoscopic cameras and other surgical tools can then be gently guided into this tube.  In Laser Spine Surgery, a medical laser is then guided into the tube. The laser is used instead of the traditional scalpel to perform the surgery. The camera provides real-time, highly detailed vision of the area, allowing the surgeon to perform the surgery with great precision.

What are the benefits of Laser Spine Surgery?

Laser spine surgery brings with it all of the benefits of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery. The rapid advancement in this type of innovative technology has brought many benefits to patients, compared to traditional surgery. These benefits include:

  • Less blood loss
  • Minimal trauma to muscles and other soft tissue around the surgical site
  • Greatly reduced recovery time
  • Less post-operative pain
  • Less risk of post-surgical infection
  • Fewer surgical complications
  • Can often be performed as an outpatient.

Could laser spine surgery benefit me?

Many types of spinal conditions can now be assisted by using the techniques of laser spine surgery. Some of these conditions include disc herniation, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease. Additionally, Laser Spine Surgery may also be of benefit in cases where surgery has not been able to assist you the first time.

Like all spine surgery, Laser Spine Surgery is only performed when your non-surgical treatment options have been exhausted. Your doctor may prescribe medication, or send you for Physical Therapy. Physical Therapy is aimed at decreasing your symptoms, while increasing your strength and mobility. Depending on your condition, your doctor may also trial steroid injections or other types of treatment.

If you still have symptoms after trialing these treatments, your doctor may discuss surgery with you, and will be able to advise whether Laser Spine Surgery is appropriate in your situation. Although each case and person is different, most people who undergo Laser Spine Surgery enjoy a rapid return to activity and excellent decrease in their pain and other symptoms following their surgery.

Article Written by
Dr. Kaushik Das is a spinal surgeon in New York.