Laser Back Surgery | The Risks and Benefits Explored

When you undergo laser surgery on your back, there are benefits and risks to the procedure. If you and your doctor feel that you're a candidate for the surgery, it's a good idea to be well informed before the treatment so you are prepared for anything that might arise. Here's what you can expect.

What is Laser Back Surgery?

The main benefit of laser surgery for your back and neck pain is that you won't have a large incision or a bunch of stitches. That's because lasers are used to carry out the procedure, which means your actual incision is only about an inch or less. The technique also spares your muscles so you won't need internal stitches, and the recovery time is dramatically shortened. The Laser Spine Institute reports that most of their patients are able to get up and walk around about an hour after the surgery. As with any type of surgery, there are some risks and some benefits to laser back surgery. Knowing what they are will help you make the choice that's right for you and your health.

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Purpose of the Surgery

The obvious reason you might get back surgery is to relieve pain in your spinal area. The surgery is performed to relieve pressure on your back bone, which helps alleviate the pain. This is done by removing damaged portions of the spine or removing some of the lamina (the back part of your vertebra) to help ease the discomfort you're feeling. If your pain is caused by bone spurs or growths, they will be removed to provide relief. Sometimes, back surgery is needed to fuse bones together. No matter why you're having pain, laser back surgery can help you live pain-free and will dramatically improve your quality of life.

Possible Candidates

If you suffer from chronic and debilitating back or neck pain, you could be a candidate for laser spine surgery. Usually you will have to have tried other methods to find relief before a doctor recommends surgery. That includes pain relief medications and other nonsurgical treatments. If they don't work or your pain is getting worse, laser spine surgery may be the next best option. The ideal candidate for the surgery is someone who experiences pain in the back combined with tingling in the extremities and someone who needs to lean over while pushing a grocery cart. If you've tried yoga, acupuncture, massage or chiropractic care without relief, your doctor may recommend laser surgery.

Benefits of Laser Spine Surgery

As mentioned above, the small incision and short recovery time are popular reasons people choose laser surgery over traditional types. Because the incision is so small, this also reduces the risk of infection or other complications that you might face with a larger opening and multiple stitches. When compared to open spine surgery, laser surgery means going home soon after the procedure instead of being hospitalized. Finally, recovery is much easier and can be done at home. Talk to your doctor about whether laser spine surgery is a better option for you than open-spine surgery.

Risks of Spine Surgery

Any surgery carries its own set risks, and it's important to understand what they are so you can decide if the procedure is right for you. Many doctors prefer traditional open-spine surgery over laser surgery because there isn't a lot of research or proof that the latter is a better choice. Your doctor might also prefer it because it has been proven to work. While the incision for laser surgery may be smaller, there is still a risk of infection at the site, which will need to be kept clean as healing occurs. Some people may have a negative reaction to the laser, and there is also a risk of complications in the area where tissue is removed. If you feel like laser spine surgery is something you'd like to pursue, talk over the risks with your physician before scheduling the procedure. 

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