When thinking of laser surgery, many may think of futuristic space-age technology with laser beams, but that isn’t exactly how it all works. Lasers are used in the operating room, however, not in the way many may think.
How Spinal Laser Surgery Works
With spinal laser surgery, a light beam is used, which is powerful enough to cut into the body’s soft tissue. Laser technology procedures are also used for eye surgeries, tumor removals, and even cosmetic procedures.
Surgeons often use the term minimally invasive when describing specific surgical procedures, and laser surgery fall into that category as it allows the surgeons to perform less cutting by the use of thermal devices.
A Minimally Invasive Approach
A traditional approach to spinal surgery has the surgeon cutting into the muscles around the spine, leaving the tissue open for possible damage. With this approach, patients can experience more pain and potentially longer hospital stays as the recovery process may be longer. When using an alternate approach such as spinal laser surgery, a smaller incision is made, which allows for less damage to the surrounding areas and shorter recovery time. Less pain is often associated with this minimally invasive technique as well.
When Lasers Might Be Used
Although a laser could be used to shrink a spinal disc, some doctors may advise against it as it lies so close to the nerve root, and the heat could cause damage to the nerves. However, there are some procedures in which spinal laser surgery has proven effective, and that is removing tumors.
A thermal device is also used in procedures such as facet thermal ablation. A facet joint is located at the back of the spine and is what allows for the spine to bend and move. When arthritis affects the facet joints, mobility can become complicated, and pain occurs.
A thermal ablation procedure uses a laser to deaden the nerves located in the facet joint that is being attacked by arthritis, causing inflammation.
Call Us For More Information
Laser spine surgery has many benefits and can be useful for some. However, not all operations require the use of laser technology, and many could suffice by a minimally invasive approach.
If you suffer from pain in the spine, our Atlanta orthopedic doctors can work with you to find treatment options that best suit your needs and discuss surgical options if necessary. Contact our team of doctors today for a consultation at (404) 855-2141.