Laser back surgery today

Laser Back Surgery Today

Suffering from chronic, and seemingly incurable back pain can lead to a desperate search for a cure. One route that many individuals with back pain have chosen to pursue in recent years is laser back surgery, but how effective is it? In this post, we’ll discuss what laser back surgery is, and how the medical community views it at present.

Laser back surgery is a technique which utilizes lasers to create incisions into the tissue surrounding the spine, allowing surgeons access to the vertebrae, nerves and spinal column in order to repair several conditions which can be responsible for causing significant back pain. The technique has been proposed as a less-invasive and more accurate means of entering the spine, but according to doctors at the Mayo Clinic, the jury is still out. Laser back surgery has not been proven effective or safer than standard surgical techniques in any peer-reviewed studies. There are many questions regarding the technique still, and it may not be the best route to pursue when dealing with an area as sensitive as the human spine.

Although many proponents of laser back surgery argue that the technique is less invasive as standard surgical methods, this type of surgery is still highly invasive and carries significant risks as a result. One of the leading laser back surgery clinics in the United States, the Laser Spine Institute, routinely performs four primary types of back surgery using this technique. They are as follows:

Foraminotomy – relieves pressure on the nerves that results from compressed spaces in the vertebrae where the nerves exit.

Laminotomy – relieves pressure on the spinal canal, allowing the neural tissue to have more space, which in turn releases pressure on compressed nerves.

Precutaneous Endoscopic Discectomy – an alternative to the common procedure of spinal fusion, this technique removes the disc material involved in a herniated disc or bulging disc that is adversely affecting nerve roots or the spinal cord itself.

Facet Thermal Ablation – unlike the other forms of laser back surgery discussed, this technique directly applies the laser to nerves of facet joints, which are a common source of pain, and are involved in connecting the vertebrae and supporting spinal movement.

In some cases, individuals require more than one of these surgical techniques to resolve the cause of their pain. Multiple laser back surgery techniques can be applied in the same procedure.


If you are considering laser back surgery, make sure to examine all available options, such as physical therapy, exercise, behavior and diet modification, and other non-surgical alternatives before pursuing this route. Complications of laser back surgery are the same as for any other back surgery, and despite the fact that the technique has been in use since the 1980’s, there isn’t much evidence suggesting that it is more effective than traditional spinal surgeries. Beware of procedures being proposed for bulging discs, as in many cases, they aren’t really necessary, and the problem can be addressed without the need for surgical intervention.

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