Laser spine surgery is a form of back surgery that is minimally invasive and involves passing a laser through a small incision. This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, and patients can usually get back on their feet in no time. Continue reading to find out reasons to consider the procedure.
How laser spine surgery works
Laser spine surgery is an effective procedure for spine-related conditions such as herniated or bulging disc, pinched nerves, sciatica, spinal stenosis, and disc degeneration. The treatment corrects the affected tissue and protects healthy disc tissues. In the case of a herniated disc, only 5 to 10 percent of the disc’s tissue is often affected. With a laser, the surgeon can vaporize the herniated tissue. The high precision level prevents damage to surrounding bone and tissues, unlike traditional procedures.
As with most devices used during surgery, the surgeon will need to make an incision to insert a laser into the body. The mode of insertion and size of the incision depends on the technique and the tools being used – percutaneously (3mm), via an endoscope (8mm), via a minimally invasive tubular retractor (14-18mm), or an open incision (at least 3 inches).
The benefits of considering laser spine surgery
The disc repair procedure does not require drilling into the bone since that can weaken and destabilize the spine, resulting in potential complications that may necessitate a more invasive procedure. There is also no need to access the back through the stomach. Essentially, the process has no adverse impact on the spine’s stability. The endoscopic technique often involves the careful separation of spine tissues, all done through a small incision in the back.
The surgery aids the healing process. During the procedure, the surgeon will set conditions for the disc to heal independently rather than remove the affected disc and fix screws and rods to the spine. After vaporizing the herniation significantly, the body will heal on its own. Spine irritation will reduce, as well as the neurological symptoms caused by compressed nerve roots. As the body heals, the disc’s function will return to normal.
The procedure is effective for alleviating pain. Microdiscectomy and laminectomy operations are two common spine surgeries for treating pain, weakness, or numbness in the legs or arms. They are not meant to alleviate symptoms like back or neck pain. Laser spine surgery can reduce pain occurring in the arm and legs. This is the differentiating factor and makes it a preferred method of treating disc pain.
What to expect
A compressed nerve can cause pain and discomfort. This compression can be the result of a bone spur or herniated disc in the spine. A condition like sciatica where the sciatic nerve becomes compressed can cause pain around the lower back and leg. The surgeon can use lasers to remove pressure on the nerves to relieve pain. The operation is performed after administering local anesthesia so patients will not feel any pain in their back. Sedation can also be used.
Laser spine surgery is considered less invasive than other traditional back surgeries. Patients who need to undergo back surgery should discuss and evaluate potential treatment options with the doctor.
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