Laser spine surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery are often confused or grouped into the same type of treatment option; however, each procedure offers its unique pros and cons. Let’s learn more about how laser spine surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery can influence the patient’s overall experience below.
Using laser technology, surgeons perform laser spine surgery to remove areas of soft tissue that may be compressing critical nerves throughout the spine. Like any other medical procedure, laser spine surgery presents its advantages and disadvantages to the patient.
Advantages – Laser spine surgery boasts a faster recovery time for patients. Due to its popularity in treating minor conditions, patients will not typically have a long or strenuous rehabilitation period. It is marketed to be less invasive than surgery that requires cutting and dissecting instruments. Since the laser removes soft tissue by way of heat, there is no need for the use of traditional surgical instruments that can complicate a patient’s safety.
Disadvantages – Although laser spine surgery is sold to patients as the “least invasive” surgical option with a faster recovery process, the procedure can actually only be performed to treat a small amount of spine conditions. The laser is less precise than a traditional instrument, which eliminates its viability to perform complex surgical procedures. If not handled correctly, the laser can damage the patient’s nerve roots. Unlike most surgeries, laser spine surgery does NOT have to be carried out by a spine surgeon. There is no formal training for medical professionals seeking to treat patients with laser spine surgery. Additionally, this procedure is irreversible due to the permanent removal of tissue.
Common risks associated with general surgery can be applied to this procedure. Speak with your doctor for a full list of potential complications.
Developed as a more stable and less invasive alternative to open surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery was created to treat spine conditions without severely injuring surrounding muscles or spinal structure. This surgery can be done using traditional instruments or laparoscopically, further decreasing its risks. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of this non-laser approach.
Advantages – Minimally invasive spine surgery uses a tool to tunnel to the origin site of the pain through only a small incision. There is less opportunity for complications to arise during or after minimally invasive spine surgery. The procedure does not involve the cutting or pulling of muscles to the extent of traditional surgical methods. Consequentially, the patient will experience improved cosmetic results, less blood loss, and a shorter recovery time. Minimally invasive spine surgery can treat a wide variety of spine conditions, including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and spondylolisthesis. This procedure must be performed by a spine surgeon, ensuring the patient is at the hands of an experienced professional specialized in spine surgery.
Disadvantages – According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, some risks associated with minimally invasive spine surgery may include infection or pain at the surface area of the procedure. Speak with your surgeon for a full list of potential complications.
When it comes to choosing the right surgical procedure to treat your spine condition, be sure to consult your doctor. Trust the experts at Spine Solutions to give you the tools you need to decide which treatment option is right for you. Spine Solutions offers extensive treatment options, including minimally invasive spine surgery, for various spine conditions. To schedule a consultation at one of our South Florida offices, contact Spine Solutions.