The use of lasers in low-back medical procedures may seem like a cutting-edge idea, but in reality, lasers were first used in this way decades ago. In fact, enough laser spine procedures have been performed over the years that medical professionals and researchers have been able to draw some definitive conclusions about the effectiveness of this type of surgery. Today, the general consensus is this: Laser spine surgery is not the best choice for treating any type of back pain. There are better options available.
Why isn’t laser spine surgery a good option?
Laser spine surgery has been primarily used to address disc herniations. Traditionally, a discectomy (where the surgeon removes a portion of the disc to ease the pain) or a microdiscectomy (the gold standard for treating a herniated disc) are the most common treatments.
In a laser spine procedure, the laser is inserted into the appropriate part of the spine through a small incision and used to ablate soft tissue in the problematic area. By removing that tissue, the surgeon is better able to see—and remove—small portions of bone or ligament that may be pressing on a nerve and causing pain. Despite the fact that this procedure is referred to as “laser spine surgery,” the laser actually plays a very small role in resolving the problem.
The original theory behind the use of lasers was that they would be more precise and create less scar tissue, leading to less postoperative pain and a faster recovery time. But that hasn’t proven to be the case. A study conducted in the late 1990s compared the traditional microdiscectomy to laser spine surgery. Researchers found that the group of patients who received a microdiscectomy actually had a better outcome than those who received laser spine surgery. Since then, no further facts have come to light that have helped dispel the notion that laser spine surgery is not as effective as people once thought.
Are you considering the right kind of back surgery for your condition? Find out which surgical options will alleviate your pain with this free guide.
Today, laser spine surgeries are infrequently performed in the U.S., though they are still fairly common in some European countries.
What are the alternatives to laser spine surgery?
If you suffer from recurrent disc herniations or if a significant amount of a disc needs to be removed to relieve pain, BalancedBack® Total Joint Replacement could be a viable solution.
Here’s why: BalancedBack® addresses the root cause of your back and leg pain by allowing your surgeon to remove diseased disc and fully decompress your nerves, while restoring function with a new prosthetic joint. That means you not only feel better—you also maintain mobility. BalancedBack® allows you to find the natural balance of your spine, standing, sitting, riding in a car, or slumped on the sofa—something that is not possible with fusion.
Interested in learning more about BalancedBack®?
If you’re investigating surgical options to relieve back and leg pain, visit our website for more information. Or, schedule a complimentary call with our clinical coordinator to see if the BalancedBack® procedure might be right for you.