Foraminotomy, endoscopic discectomy, laminotomy and facet thermal ablation are the four main types of laser spine surgery, and each of these endoscopic surgery methods can be used to treat particular problems of the spine. For example, laminotomy is conducted in order to relieve from problems caused by herniated or bulging discs, while foraminotomy is a type of endoscopic surgery that can be conducted to reduce excess pressure on nerves, whenever the latter can be attributed to compression of nerves by the intervertebral foramen. Endoscopic discectomy, on the other hand, is a subtle procedure conducted to remove small portions of a herniated or bulging disc, which cause excessive pressure on nearby nerves. Lastly, much like dental root canal treatment, facet thermal ablation is conducted in order to deaden a nerve, so that the patient no longer feels pain in the affected area.
Usually, painful symptoms in the spinal cord can be attributed to multiple conditions, and as a result, a combination of the surgical methods mentioned above may be needed for successful treatment. The fact that they all are minimally invasive procedures makes it possible for them to be conducted simultaneously, which keeps the time and costs required for Laser spine surgery at a bare minimum. In plain terms, laser spine surgery is an excellent option for a patient that wants to terminally solve back pain problems and return to normal life as soon as possible.
What exactly is done during laser spine surgery?
To begin the procedure, the anesthetist applies a local anesthetic agent as well as intravenous sedation in order to keep the patient in a relaxed state and make sure that no pain is felt. Afterwards, the surgeon proceeds with a small incision (less than 5 millimeters in diameter) in the area that needs to be treated. Then, a small, hollow tube is inserted into the skin through the incision. This is followed by the gradual insertion of more tubes around the initial one, each of them of bigger inner and outer diameter. This is done in order to gradually widen the surgeon’s path to the spinal cord in a manner that poses no risk of damage to neighboring tissue. Eventually, the surgeon inserts the last tube (“working tube”), which has a diameter of about 18 millimeters, and proceeds to remove the inner ones. A small camera along with the laser device and all other necessary surgical instruments are then inserted in the working tube, and used to carry out the subtle medical procedures necessary for the patient’s condition. Then, the surgeon removes the surgical instruments and tubes and proceeds to clean and stitch the incision so that the healing process can begin. Laser spine surgery lasts usually about an hour, and is an outpatient procedure, meaning that the patient can be back home after only a few hours.
Laser spine surgery recovery
In most cases, one day’s worth of rest is all that is required before the patient begins to return to normal daily activities. On that day, an epidural injection may be required so as to minimize swelling, while in the first few weeks after surgery, physical therapy (such as stretching exercises, walking, and back massages) may also be needed in order to increase the spinal cord’s range of motion. In any event, the patient will have to undergo postoperative assessment, so that he/she can be given appropriate instructions for the weeks to come. In the vast majority of cases though, laser spine surgery is highly successful, and the patients will be able to get back to enjoying their favorite activities, as though they never had back pain in their life before Laser spine surgery.