The Benefits of Laser Spine Surgery

Published on July 9, 2021 by The Spine Center

Back pain — especially pain that radiates down one or both legs — is often caused by pressure on one of your nerves. Sometimes a ruptured disk impinges a nerve. Sometimes bone spurs, tumors, or inflamed tendons can irritate spinal nerves either inside or outside the spinal canal. 

The spine experts at The Spine Center at the Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge take a minimally invasive approach at our Baton Rouge, Walker, and Prairieville, Louisiana offices, whenever it’s appropriate. If your back pain’s caused by pressure on a nerve, laser spine surgery could give you relief.

Curious about whether laser spine surgery could work for you? Following are some of the benefits of using highly focused laser energy to alleviate your back pain.

Laser spine surgery uses a small incision

If your back pain’s caused by pressure on your nerves from inflamed tendons or ruptured discs, laser spine surgery could save you from the long operative and recovery times associated with traditional, open surgery. During open surgery, your doctors must cut through muscle layers to reach your spine.

In contrast, with laser surgery, we need to make just one small incision. We can then use special tools to gently move muscles aside, so they don’t have to be stitched together again after the operation.

The laser is inserted in the incision along with a miniature camera that allows us to see a magnified, real-time version of the operative area on a monitor. Through the same small incision, we use the laser and accompanying tools to:

  • Shrink bulging disc material
  • Remove excess, bulging disc material
  • Dislodge and remove obstructions, such as bone spurs
  • Remove tumors or other growths
  • Remove or pare down enlarged tendons

If you have a herniated disc, we may need to perform both laser endoscopic discectomy (i.e., removing portions of the disc) and percutaneous laser discoplasty (i.e., reducing the size of the ruptured disc).

Laser spine surgery takes less time

Because laser spine surgery usually requires just one incision and doesn’t entail cutting through muscle, the procedure itself is faster than open surgery — only about an hour. 

However, prep time and recovery time for your operation add a few more hours to your total time in our facility. We make sure that you’ve recovered well after your operation, which means we may observe you for several hours afterward.

You don’t need general anesthesia

Traditional surgery requires that you remain unconscious under general anesthesia for the entire operation. That’s why these procedures are performed in a hospital. Laser spine surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis, so you don’t have to stay overnight.

With laser spine surgery, you only need a local anesthetic to numb the pain. If you’re anxious about the procedure, we also administer a sedative to keep you calm and anxiety-free. Afterward, you’ll still be drowsy and so should arrange beforehand to have someone drive you home.

Laser spine surgery has a quick recovery

Traditional spine surgery might require a several-day stay in a hospital. With laser spine surgery, you return home the same day as your procedure. 

Rather than taking 4-6 weeks off from work and your normal activities, and up to a year of recovery time — as is required for more invasive surgery — you gradually build up to a return-to-normal. A typical timeline is:

  • Day 2: Return to driving, and start physical therapy (PT)
  • Week 2: Return to easy activities and non-stressful work
  • Weeks 4-6: Gradual return to normal activities

Of course, you must continue to perform your PT exercises to strengthen your back and core muscles. A strong core helps support your spine to prevent further episodes of back pain.

Laser spine surgery is less traumatic

Surgical procedures don’t just affect the area that requires the operation — your entire body undergoes stress. Laser spine surgery, however, minimizes trauma. You even lose less blood during laser surgery than you would during open surgery.

If you have back pain from a slipped or ruptured disc or nerve compression, give us a call today at 833-774-6327 to find out if you’re a candidate for laser spine surgery. Or, book your appointment online with our convenient form. 

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