If you look on the internet about laser spine surgery, you’ll likely get mixed opinions as you move from one page to another. It doesn’t get easier if you decide to consult different spine specialists on the same issue. One may tell you that laser spine surgery is effective, only to hear another surgeon say it’s not as effective. This leaves us wondering about the myths and facts of laser spine surgery.
Here at NJ Spine & Orthopedic, we have a team of board-certified neurosurgeons with decades of experience in spine surgeries. We use laser spine surgery to treat some patients with various spine conditions. With this knowledge and expertise in laser spine surgery, we’re better positioned to decipher the myths and lay bare the facts surrounding this thorny topic. Here is everything you need to understand about the facts and myths of laser spine surgery.
What Is Laser Spine Surgery?
Before we can get into the depth of the matter, you need first to understand what laser spine surgery is. In a nutshell, this is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure that spine surgeons use to treat different spine issues. Some of these conditions may include spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, spine tumors, sciatica, or a herniated disc.
Typically, the surgeon makes a small incision on the target area to access the affected spinal segment, just like any other minimally-invasive procedure. But instead of using a conventional scalpel to cut the disc part or tissue to be removed, they use a laser. This method works by focusing a beam of light through the small opening into the tissue that the surgeon wants to remove.
Let’s now explore the facts and myths concerning this type of procedure.
Myth: Laser Spine Surgery Is Experimental
That is not true. Lasers have been in use in medical surgeries for over half a century. The FDA formally approved the use of lasers in the 1980s for spine and orthopedic surgeries. While lasers’ efficiency was not considered effective back then, we cannot make the same claim today, given the advancement in spine surgery technology over the past decades.
Myth: Lasers Can Be Used In all Types of Spine Surgeries
The fact is that while lasers can be very effective in some minimally-invasive spine surgeries, there is a limitation on where they can be applied. Besides, lasers can only remove certain types of tissues, bones, or spurs.
Here at NJ Spine & Orthopedic, we recommend lasers only when the surgery involves removing a problematic tissue or disc around a nerve root, due to their relative precision in these situations compared to other surgical tools. This is because when the surgeon is operating near or around the nerves and dealing with complex tissue that needs to be removed, they need to choose an optimal solution with less risk of injuring the nerves.
Fact: Laser Spine Surgery Is Not a Priority for Spine Conditions
If you have been diagnosed with any spine-related condition, undergoing surgery, leave alone laser spine surgery, isn’t a priority. If you’re dealing with a skilled surgeon, they’ll usually recommend non-surgical methods to help relieve your symptoms first. These may include pain medication, physical therapy, or in some cases, an epidural injection at the affected spinal cord.
Surgery is only viable when these techniques fail to improve your condition or when your back or neck pain symptoms continue to worsen. If surgery is the way to go, your surgeon will sit you down and explain various options and risks associated with each. It’s at this stage that patients, in agreement with a surgeon, choose whether to undergo laser spine surgery. Remember that this option isn’t always available and depends on your unique condition.
Consult Experienced and Board-Certified Surgeons at NJ Spine & Orthopedic Today
Dealing with any kind of spine problem isn’t an easy feat. If you have a spine condition, don’t suffer alone. Consult a doctor to diagnose the problem correctly and get treatment measures started. If they recommend laser spine surgery, it may be able to help reduce pain and minimize your symptoms.
At NJ Spine & Orthopedic, we offer a wide range of minimally-invasive spine surgeries, including laser spine surgery, coupled with the personalized care you deserve. We’re always open with our treatment options, taking a patient-centric approach in each stage of the process. Contact us online or dial (866) 553-0612 to book an appointment with one of our spine surgeons today.