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Doctor insights on: Pros Cons Laser Spine Surgery

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How safe is laser spine surgery?

How safe is laser spine surgery?

Why: Laser spine surgery carries with it the same dangers as conventional spine surgery. The real question is are there advantages of laser spine surgery over conventional spine surgery. According to a paper by the mayo clinic laser spine surgery does not provide any advantage over conventional spine surgery. There are no independent studies that have confirmed the benefits of the laser spine surgery over conventional spine surgery. Additionally there in the next the tremendous expense of laser spine surgery that cost approximately 2 to 3 times that of conventional.

Dr. Edward Hellman
241 Doctors shared insights

Spine Surgery (Definition)

This is surgery to treat disorders of the spine. It may be a discectomy, laminectomy, or fusion. Fusion surgery usually means using special plates and screws whic typically stay in permanently. Many of these procedures can be performed ...Read more


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Are lasers used in spine surgery?

Are lasers used in spine surgery?

Yes. There are: Several indications for there use such as in certain disc surgeries or with treating certain tumors as well as in other limited indications.

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Is laser spine surgery effective and safe?

Is laser spine surgery effective and safe?

Safe not effective: Laser spine surgery simply means removing disc with a laser rather than manually. It is typically performed percutaneously. Although there are reported benefits, in order to state that it is effective, those benefits have to beat the placebo effect which is considerable. Most of the laser surgeries done are for disc bulge which doesn't need surgery in the first place.

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What is the safety and efficacy of laser spine surgery?

What is the safety and efficacy of laser spine surgery?

Nothing new about it: The use of lasers for spine surgery have been around for years. These devices are used mainly to burn and destroy tissue or nerves in attempts to manage pain. There are places throughout the country that advertise this new state of the art technology. Not much new about it. Not any riskier than traditional spine surgery. Not sure it is more effective.

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What medications should be avoided before laser spine surgery?

What medications should be avoided before laser spine surgery?

Multiple: This is an important question to discuss with your doctor prior to surgery. For most cases, the following medications should be avoided: 1. Blood thinners (to decrease risk of bleeding) 2. Aspirin/plavix/anti-platelet meds (to decrease risk of bleeding) 3. Avoid recent spinal steroid injections (to decrease risk of infection).

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What arrangements do I need to make before laser spine surgery?

Several: Make sure you understand your diagnosis and procedure. A lot of "laser" procedures are heavily marketed but don't have much evidence to show any benefit of the laser. Consider a second opinion prior to the procedure by another spine specialist. Ensure that you have tried non-operative treatment without success. The arrangements otherwise are similar to those prior to any other surgery.

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What are the negative and positive aspects of laser spine surgery?

Uncertain: Most spine surgeries have risks and benefits, most often based upon peer reviewed literature. Most facilities that offer these "laser" procedures should discuss such risks. As a reconstructive spinal surgeon, I have seen patients treated in these facilities who report acceptable pain relief. I have also performed major revision surgery for bad outcomes from laser surgery.

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Can you tell me the recovery time for endoscopic laser spine surgery?

Can you tell me the recovery time for endoscopic laser spine surgery?

It usually as if you: Never had surgery because you barely did! Basically, it is the same day.

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What are the advantages and disadvantages of the endoscopic laser spine surgery?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the endoscopic laser spine surgery?

Less invasive: Pro: less invasive (small incision, less tissue disturbance), maybe faster recovery (hard to prove) con: more x-ray exposure, fewer surgeons competent in technique, may or may not prove more effective than conventional surgery both it and conventional share surgical risks: infection, bleeding, continued symptoms, relapse, nerve or blood vessel problems, etc.

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What are my limitations after laser spine surgery? How long will I be in hospital?

Doctor: Talk with your surgeon. They can tell you the limitations and expectations, if you undergo a procedure. They should also inform you on where the procedure is done, since many of the "laser" procedures are done in various type of treatment facilities. If done in an outpatient setting, verify that the surgeon has admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in case overnight care is required.

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I had back pain and it ruins my life. I was thinking to have a laser spine surgery. Thoughts?

I had back pain and it ruins my life. I was thinking to have a laser spine surgery. Thoughts?

Decompression: Most of the techniques of laser spine surgery involve decompressing the neural elements. This tends to be best at relieving radicular pain-pain which radiates down arms or legs. Surgical back pain is related to instability which is only relieved with a stabilizing procedure such as a fusion, disc replacement, or (experimental) joint replacement. Laser is unlikely to help pure back pain.

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As medicine advances, do you think there will ever be a cure for scoliosis in the near future instead of surgery? I've heard of laser spine surgery?

As medicine advances, do you think there will ever be a cure for scoliosis in the near future instead of surgery? I've heard of laser spine surgery?

Potentially: As out knowledge advances on the causes of scoliosis we may find new ways to treat the condition early before surgery is required. However, if you already have the condition and it is worsening to the point surgery is needed, it is quite effective. That said, laser spine surgery has no role in the correction of scoliosis.

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What is spine surgery fusion?

What is spine surgery fusion?

Spine Stabilization: Spine fusion surgery locks adjacent vertebral segments together permanently. Except in the neck, it should be reserved for patients with symptomatic instability of the spine (i.e. Fracture, severe deformity, slipped vertebra pinching a nerve). In the neck, because the surgical approach to treat a pinched nerve is often through a disk, fusion without significant instability is appropriate.

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Should I go skydiving after spine surgery?

Should I go skydiving after spine surgery?

Maybe: It depends a lot on what surgery you have and how badly you want to jump. The problem is in landing can cause a lot of impact on the spine. If you have a healed spine after surgery and it is very stable, it should be ok. However, the more often you put impacts on the spine, the more it will be prone to further problems down the road.

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Weakness due to spine surgery in 2004 what to do?

Weakness due to spine surgery in 2004 what to do?

Be evaluated: Consider being thoroughly evaluated. Some causes of weakness may be easily corrected and if not corrected may lead to more problems, while other causes may not have any real good options. Usually a detailed history, exam, and appropriate imaging studies can determine the cause, prognosis, and treatment options. Thank you.

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How can you get a better sleep after a spine surgery?

How can you get a better sleep after a spine surgery?

Depends: Follow your doctor's specific instructions. A few generals tips would be to walk and exercise enough each day so that you are tired at night. If you need to nap during the day, limit the naps to 15-20 minutes and do not nap after mid afternoon. If you sleep too much during the day, you will not sleep at night. If pain interferes with sleep, use your medicine to get comfortable before you go to bed.

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What does contralateral mean in reference to spine surgery?

What does contralateral mean in reference to spine surgery?

The opposite side: Usually when the symptoms are on the opposite side of a disc herniation.

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How can I tell if my incision broke open post-spine surgery?

How can I tell if my incision broke open post-spine surgery?

Have someone look: Certainly, if you have any questions, ask your surgeon to see you. We always like to know about any potential complications sooner rather than later. With that being said, however, it is very easy to tell if your wound has opened up, you can just have someone look and tell you. Thank you for the question.

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What's the failure rate for spine surgery for disc herniation?

What's the failure rate for spine surgery for disc herniation?

Pain: If by failure you mean what is the chance you will still have pain -50%. If the disc is causing loss of sensation or strength then the chances are somewhat better of aiding it. Back surgery for pain has abysmal results. Wt loss, strengthening your abs without laying on your back and glucosamine have at least as good of results if not better.

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Dr. Patricia Foster
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