Laser Spine Surgery – Things to Complete Before Consenting to a Procedure
Laser Spine Surgery – Things toComplete Before Consenting to a Procedure
If youre thinking about undergoing laser spine surgery,you may first want to complete certain tasks before youconsent to any procedure. The first thing to keep in mindis that surgery to treat back or neck pain resulting from adegenerative spine condition is almost always a last-resort treatment option, unless a medical emergency ordangerous spinal deformity requires immediate surgicalattention. Before you commit to spine surgery, make sureyou attempt conservative (nonsurgical) treatments,research your potential surgical options, understand thedifferences between the two main categories of spinesurgery, and find a surgeon you can trust.
Exhaust Nonsurgical TreatmentsBefore laser spine surgery becomes a topic of conversation, your family doctor orspine specialist will likely recommend that you first complete a course of conservativetreatments. These therapies are widely regarded throughout the mainstream medicalcommunity as being effective treatments for a variety of symptoms that can arise as aresult of spine conditions. The most common treatments include: • Physical therapy • Opioid pain medication • Heat therapy • Cold therapy • Low-impact exercise • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugsIn some cases, other more targeted treatment methods, such as analgesic painpatches, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), ultrasound therapy, andothers, may be employed.
Do Your ResearchAnother important consideration prior to undergoing spine surgery isto research each of your surgical options. In the past, the only optionavailable for patients requiring back or neck surgery was highlyinvasive open spine surgery. Its possible that an open back or neckprocedure could still be your only surgical option, depending on theseverity of your specific condition, level of health, and other factors,but you could also be a candidate forlaser spine surgery. There are benefitsassociated with a laser spine procedurethat are not associated with openspine surgery, so doing your researchto understand each type of procedureis incredibly important.
Learn the Basics: Open Spine vs. Laser Spine SurgeryBoth types of spine surgery actually have the same goal: to decompress the spinalcord or nerve roots, with the aim of reducing the pain, numbness, weakness, andtingling in your back, neck and/or extremities that arises from neural compression.Some surgeries may also be used to treat arthritic spinal joints by deadening the nerveendings within the joints, thereby ending chronic neck or back pain. However, openspine surgery takes a different approach than laser spine surgery. An open spinesurgery is highly invasive, requiring large incisions in the back or neck, dissection ofsoft tissues, and the removal of a large portion of spinal anatomy. As a result, spinalfusion is often required to permanently fuse two adjacent vertebrae together in aneffort to improve spinal stability. Recovering from open spine surgery can be quitelengthy and difficult, due in large part to the large incisions and implantation ofhardware.An endoscopic laser spine procedure, on the other hand, is a minimally invasiveprocedure, requiring only a small incision in the neck or back and as little disruption aspossible to bone and soft tissues. Additionally, these procedures are performed on anoutpatient basis, which means no hospitalization is necessary.
Find a Surgeon You Feel Comfortable WithIf a doctor has determined that you are a candidate for laser spine surgeryand youve done the research regarding the surgical options available toyou, its time to select a surgeon whom you trust to perform yourprocedure. There are some laser spine surgeons that are moreexperienced and more qualified than others, so dont be afraid to askseveral surgeons specific questions about how many laser spineprocedures they have performed, where they attended medical school,where they completed a residency program, and whether they are boardcertified. Additionally, talk to friends or family members whove had spinesurgery to gauge their experiences with particular surgeons, and readtestimonials and reviews online. Deciding to undergo any surgicalprocedure shouldnt be taken lightly, so do your part to learn as much asyou can about your chosen procedure and surgeon before you sign aconsent form.