If you are researching laser spine facilities, your doctor has likelyrecommended that you to consider undergoing surgery to treat aspine condition. It’s important to remember that, regardless ofwhether you’re living with a herniated disc in the lumbar (lowerback) region of your spine or are suffering from cervical (neck) facetjoint disease, surgery should typically be reserved as a finaltreatment option.However, you may be a candidate for spine surgery if conservative,nonsurgical therapies, such as pain medication, physical therapy,anti-inflammatory drugs, and others have failed to providemeaningful relief within several weeks or months. Before youconsent to any surgical procedure, it is in your best interest toresearch the laser spine facilities in which you may be interested,find out what conditions they are able to treat, and whatprocedures may be available to you.
Conditions TreatedWhile laser spine facilities can be different from one another in termsof size, amenities, experience, etc., in general, they can help treat anumber of degenerative back and neck conditions, including: • Bulging discs • Herniated discs • Sciatica • Spinal stenosis • Foraminal stenosis • Bone spurs • Facet joint disease • Low-grade spondylolisthesis
Types of Procedures OfferedTypically, the orthopedic experts at laser spine facilitiesare able to perform a variety of specific procedures aimedat decompressing neural structures that have beenaffected by bulging and herniated discs, bone spurs,spinal osteoarthritis, and other anatomical abnormalitiesvia minimally invasive techniques. These techniquesmight include using an endoscope, laser, and tiny surgicaltools to excise or vaporize only the portions of bonematerial or soft tissues that are impinging neuralstructures in the spine.
Common ProceduresMany back and neck surgeries traditionally performed through an open back oropen neck approach can be performed using a minimally invasive, endoscopictechniques. Some of the most common endoscopic spinal procedures include: • Foraminotomy – removal of excess bone and soft tissue to clear out a foramen, or a channel through which a spinal nerve root exits the spinal canal. This procedure increases the space surrounding a compressed nerve root to help relieve pressure. • Laminotomy – removal of a portion of lamina bone, or the thin plates that protect the back side of the spinal cord. This operation increases the space surrounding an impinged spinal cord to help relieve pressure. • Discectomy – removal or vaporizing of disc material that has bulged or herniated into the spinal canal and come into contact with neural structure. • Facet thermal ablation – deadening of the medial branch nerves that innervate an arthritic facet joint to help relieve joint pain.
Additional OptionsCertain laser spine facilities may even offer disc regeneration and minimally invasive stabilization(MIS) procedures, which provide patients with even more technologically and surgically advancedalternatives to open spine surgery.The disc regeneration procedure uses a patient’s own stem cells in combination with low-levellaser decompression to not only relieve the pressure placed on neural structures, but to alsopromote the repair and healing of a deteriorated disc, which may help prevent future painful discproblems.The MIS procedure is an alternative to highly invasive complete disc removal and spinal fusionsurgery, which is sometimes necessary for patients suffering from severe spinal degeneration.Now, with an outpatient MIS procedure, patients who are candidates for this type of procedurecan avoid the large incisions, muscle dissection, and lengthy recovery commonly associated withopen spine spinal fusion. Instead, the same endoscopic techniques used in laser spine proceduresare utilized to access the affected area of the spine, decompress neural structures, and remove adegenerated disc. Then, a supportive implant is funneled through the tube and placed in theempty disc space, followed by bone graft material. Screws and rods or a small metal plate areused to permanently join the two adjacent vertebrae together and promote healing.
Are You A Candidate?Although the procedures offered at laser spine facilitiesmay be appealing, you should know that not everyindividual is a candidate for a minimally invasiveprocedure. If your doctor has asked you to considerundergoing surgery to treat your back or neck condition,ask him or her whether an endoscopic procedure is anoption for you. It might even be advantageous for you toseek a second opinion at a laser spine facility, which canhelp you find out if laser surgery is even an option in yourcase.