Laser Spine Surgery
Laser spine surgery is a type of endoscopic, minimally invasive surgical procedure that can be used for the treatment of various conditions of the spinal cord.
There are four main categories of laser spine surgery, namely laminotomy , foraminotomy, endoscopic discectomy and facet thermal ablation. Each of these is used for the treatment of particular problems in the spinal cord.
For instance, conditions such as spinal stenosis, which can be caused by a herniated or bulging disc, by hypertrophy of local tissue or by bone spurs, can be treated with a laminotomy, which relieves pressure on the spinal cord. Foraminotomy, on the other hand, is the preferred method used to relieve pressure on nerves that have been compressed by the intervertebral foramen. Additionally, endoscopic discectomy is a delicate procedure for the removal of a small part of a herniated or bulging disc which is causing undue pressure on a nerve. And lastly, facet thermal ablation is a procedure that deadens a nerve so as to permanently relieve from pain.
Typically, patients with problems in their spinal cord have multiple conditions at the same time, and a combination of the aforementioned techniques may be required for successful treatment. Due to their minimally invasive nature, the patient’s conditions can often be treated at once, thereby minimizing the time required for surgery and recovery and keeping costs in check. Quite importantly, Laser spine surgery allows the patient to return to his/her everyday life sooner and enjoy it as much as possible.
How is laser spine surgery conducted?
The procedure begins with the administration of a local anesthetic agent and, usually, of intravenous sedation as well, so as to minimize pain and keep the patient relaxed throughout the procedure. Afterwards, a small incision (roughly 4 millimeters in diameter) is conducted in the area of treatment. A hollow tube, with roughly the diameter of a drinking straw, is then inserted into the skin. Afterwards, a series of tubes, each of them of greater
diameter, are gradually inserted around the first tube, so as to widen the opening to the spinal cord. This way, there is no danger of tearing or cutting neighboring muscle tissue. Once the surgeon places the last tube, called the working tube, which is about 18 mm in diameter, the inner tubes are then removed. An advanced camera is inserted through this tube so as to give the surgeon a complete picture of the affected area. Through that same tube, the laser head is also inserted and used to deliver appropriate amounts of energy in the affected part of the spinal cord in order to achieve the desired result. Once this is done, the instruments and tubing are removed and the incision is cleaned, stitche
Recovering from laser spine surgery
Typically, a day of rest is all that’s needed after Laser spine surgery. At that time, an epidural injection along with physical therapy (stretching exercises, slow-paced walking, massages etc.) might be required in order to minimize swelling and increase the range of motion. The condition of the patient is then assessed, and each patient is given specific instructions for the near future. Improvement is noticeable over the next few weeks, as the spine heals completely. As time goes by, the patient will be able to enjoy life as if their spinal cord problems never existed.
All in all, Laser spine surgery is an excellent solution for those people with spinal cord problems that require surgical attention, as it carries none of the dangers associated with open surgery, comes at a fraction of its cost and requires a far shorter recovery period.