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Laser Spine Surgery - A Way To Get Your Back On Track To A Pain-Free Existence

By Ann Butenas October 16, 2009 - 4:21pm

By Ann Butenas / EmpowHer Writer

Are you looking for a gentler, less traumatic alternative to spinal fusion surgery to help alleviate any pain you may be experiencing in your lower back, upper back, or neck region? Laser spine surgery may just be the answer for you.

Fusing means permanently placing two bones together so there is no longer movement between them, note the experts at the National Institutes of Health. They say "spinal fusion is usually done along with other surgical procedures of the spine." In most cases, bone grafts are taken from another part of the body, and, coupled with plates and screws, are placed around the spine during this surgical procedure. Over a period of several months, the body heals the grafts, much like a fracture would heal. The vertebrae are joined together.

The downside to such a procedure is that roughly 25% of all grafts do not initially take, resulting in another fusion procedure that has to be performed. Similarly, such procedures do not always alleviate the pain and symptoms. The recovery period is long and difficult, and the fusions themselves may present other spine conditions at a later point in time.

Bearing this information in mind, perhaps it would be a wise choice to discuss with your physician the possibility of laser spine surgery. This is a minimally-invasive procedure through arthroscopic means. Fusion is not conducted, nor is any hardware used.

As noted on the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Web site, "the surgeon inserts a needle in the disk that delivers a few bursts of laser energy to vaporize the tissue in the disk. This reduces its size and relieves pressure on the nerves."

According to the NIAMS description while most patients return to regular activities within five days of laser surgery, relief from pain may not be noticeable for several weeks or sometimes months after the surgery.

The advantages of laser spine surgery include:

*No general anesthesia
*No hospitalization