Differences between Laser Spine Surgery and Traditional Spine Surgery
Spine surgery aims to treat various spinal disorders that cause pain, discomfort, and limited mobility. According to Frontier, around 500,000 lumbar spine surgeries are performed yearly in the US. With the advancement of new methods and technologies, the surgical approach to treating spine conditions has changed over time. Traditional spine surgery and laser spine surgery are the two primary types of spine surgery. The differences between these two forms of spine surgery will be covered in this blog.
Traditional Spine Surgery
Traditional spine surgery is a surgical procedure that involves making a large incision in the back to access the spine. In traditional surgery, the surgeon uses a special tool to remove the damaged tissue, such as a herniated disc or bone spurs, and to stabilize the spine. Traditional spine surgery is also known as open spine surgery because of the large incision made in the back.
Advantages of Traditional Spine Surgery:
- In traditional spine surgery, the surgeon can see the entire spine and access the affected area.
- The best thing about traditional spine surgery is that it effectively treats complex spinal conditions, such as scoliosis.
- The surgeon has more control over the surgical instruments, which allows for more precise surgical techniques.
Disadvantages of Traditional Spine Surgery:
- The large incision required for traditional spine surgery can cause significant tissue damage. Thus, it leads to longer recovery times and more post-operative pain.
- Traditional spine surgery has more risks, especially for older patients or those with underlying medical conditions.
Laser Spine Surgery
Laser spine surgery is a minimally invasive surgical technique that uses a laser to remove damaged tissue from the spine. In this type of surgery, the surgeon makes a small incision in the back, through which a laser fiber is inserted. The laser helps to remove the diseased tissue and stabilize the spine. According to a paper presented at the American Institute of Physics Conference in 2010, the success rate of laser spine surgery ranges from 70-89%.
Advantages of Laser Spine Surgery:
- Laser spine surgery is minimally invasive, which means that it causes less tissue damage, leads to shorter recovery times, and reduces post-operative pain.
- The small incision in laser spine surgery reduces the risk of infection and bleeding.
- The laser allows for more precise surgical techniques, which can result in a better outcome for the patient.
Disadvantages of Laser Spine Surgery:
- Laser spine surgery may not be effective in treating complex spinal conditions.
- The surgeon may have limited visibility of the affected area, making the surgery more challenging.
- Laser spine surgery can be expensive and may not be covered by insurance.
|Traditional Spine Surgery||Laser Spine Surgery|
|Requires a large incision in the back||Requires a small incision in the back|
|Causes significant tissue damage, leading to longer recovery times and more post-operative pain||Causes less tissue damage, leads to shorter recovery times, and reduces post-operative pain|
|Effective in treating complex spinal conditions||May not be effective in treating complex spinal conditions|
|Riskier, especially for older patients or those with underlying medical conditions||Less risky, with a reduced risk of infection and bleeding|
|Allows the surgeon to see the entire spine and access the affected area||The surgeon may have limited visibility of the affected area|
|More control over surgical instruments, allowing for more precise surgical techniques||The laser allows for more precise surgical techniques|
|More invasive||Minimally invasive|
|Lower cost||Higher cost|
Both laser spine surgery and conventional spine surgery have benefits and drawbacks. Depending on the needs of each patient and the complexity of their spinal condition, the surgeon will decide which procedure to do. Traditional spine surgery is still the best alternative for complex spinal disorders, whereas laser spine surgery is an excellent choice for simpler spinal conditions. Patients should explore options with their doctor to make an informed choice based on their unique needs and preferences.
Dr. Baker specializes in neurosurgery, neurosurgical spine surgery, neurotrauma, brain tumors, spinal tumors, and peripheral nerve damage treatment.