Eventually, there are many people with back pain come to a point where they would almost do anything so as to end their pain. While undergoing surgery is required in a few cases, other patients can however consider undergoing laser surgery for relief instead. Used for medical & surgical procedures since early 1960s, lasers have been proven to be effective when they have been used for correcting of vision & assisting in neurosurgery. Although thousands choose to undergo laser procedures in spine clinics & outpatient centers, none of the recognized health authorities have yet come forward so as to endorse laser spine surgery. Usefulness of lasers for spine surgery is still largely unproven even though they have been used since the 1980s.
Despite lack of professional endorsements, laser spine surgery is popular & big business & several orthopedic practitioners offer & perform this procedure. Likewise, scores of individuals have found relief through laser treatment for spine surgery, but how positive these results are & how long-lasting they prove have not yet been documented in formal clinical research studies.
People with back pain usually experience acute or chronic pain. Acute pain is most commonly pain which typically lasts for about six weeks or less, while chronic pain although rare is usually found to persist for six months or more. People with acute back pain have usually experienced a fall, car accident or sports injury for instance, while people with chronic pain most often are unable to connect their discomfort with any cause or single impact. Treatment for acute pain generally includes physical therapy along with rest & pain relievers, & most often acute pain will resolve over time & in most cases surgery is neither needed nor recommended. Quite a few people with chronic pain will however be good candidates for minimally invasive surgical procedures for disc repair or decompression & which can be performed as an outpatient procedure with recovery time spanning over days to several weeks. However, a vast majority of people with chronic back pain will not require surgery.
People with chronic back pain where spinal fusion is recommended, like in cases of spondylolisthesis where the vertebrae have slipped out of place, most often require traditional back surgery involving a large incision in order to allow resetting of spine & fusing of bone alongside repair so as to keep the section immobile. Patients who require spinal fusion are typically no good candidates for minimally invasive back surgeries or some other outpatient procedures. Condition of these patients will invariably involve more than one incision site or vertebrae requiring attention & therefore incisions are most likely to be around 4 – 6 inches (10.16 – 15.24 centimeters) long. Hospital stay which is required for such procedures is about a week’s time along with a longer healing time which can span over a month to a year or more.
Traditional spine surgery generally involves scalpels & other precision cutting tools which often entail opening up the back with either a wide or long incision. Muscle tissues are subsequently pulled aside & which allow orthopedic surgeons get a good look inside at the problem before repairing. Laser surgery however, on the contrary only involves an incision which is either less than an inch or just a couple of inches which eventually lessen the amount of severed & displaced tissue which will be required to heal. This small incision will also produce a smaller scar, although it will invariably limit the view of the area around spine which is considered by some surgeons a necessity in traditional surgery. Larger incision has the benefit of providing an open look at the entire working section of spine.
Quite often, laser spine surgery is confused with minimally invasive surgery but minimally invasive surgery only involves a small incision along with a tiny endoscope with a camera fitted for viewing inside the spine & working with traditional surgical techniques without lasers. Doctors usually perform minimally invasive spine surgeries using endoscopic cameras & 3D imaging which eventually reduces the need for making large incisions & taking longer time for healing muscle tissue. These surgeries make tiny cuts & work with help of images which are displayed from inside of the body onto the TV monitors outside.
Surgical procedure is drastically different while using lasers than it is with other traditional spine surgeries. Surgeons performing laser spine surgery will remove the source of pain & nerve sensitivity by lasering off ends & decreasing size of discs between vertebrae in order to relieve pressure which is causing pain through a process called ablation. Laminotomy is commonly the procedure which removes some meat from a disc, or adjacent growths or bone spurs, decompressing disc size & by reducing amount of pressure on surrounding tissues & spine. These surgical interventions are meant to help with bone spurs, bulging & herniated disc & spinal stenosis, which is narrowing the area around the spinal column causing excessive pressure. Although laminotomy or decompression has proved to be an effective technique for relieving disc issues including pain, utilizing lasers to burn or cut away disc mass has not yet been proven to be more or equally effective in clinical trials over time. On the contrary, traditional discectomy & microdiscectomy minimally invasive surgical techniques without lasers have shown to be quite effective in many cases.
Checking with a doctor & following it up with orthopedic or neurological specialists is advisable when back pain is persistent or is resulting from an impact injury. However, finding a laser spine clinic & getting a lone consultant by the patient alone may not prove to be the best course of action.
Back pain is extremely agonizing & life changing & many people who experience discomfort search & consult doctors & yet find no measure of long-term relief. Hospitals that provide laser spine surgery can however offer hope to these patients who cannot otherwise find any help. There are several people who are paying tens of thousands of dollars, quite often out of the pocket, for outpatient surgical procedures, which may or may not at all be necessary, to address their back pain problems. However, laser spine surgery success rates vary from one patient to another. Some patients are able to find initial success only to experience regression after some time, while others even come out of this procedure in worse shape & with newer internal injuries or ailments. But there are also many who find relief & eventually walk away pain-free & are therefore more than willing to recommend laser spine surgery.
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