Laser Spine Surgery: Don’t Do it

Laser Spine Surgery

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

May 26, 2022

How is laser back surgery different from traditional back surgery?

Back surgery, specifically laser back surgery, is a form of back surgery. It is distinct from other forms of back surgery, including conventional back surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS).

Please continue reading to discover more about laser back surgery, its potential advantages and disadvantages, and other treatment alternatives.

Back surgery is performed in various ways, including the standard or open technique, MISS, and laser back surgery. Below, we’ll look at what distinguishes each approach.

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The surgeon creates a lengthy incision in the back during conventional back surgery. They then reposition muscles and other tissue to get access to the afflicted portion of the spine. This results in  a prolonged healing period and may result in tissue damage.


MISS surgery requires a much smaller incision than conventional surgery. To access the surgical site,  a specific instrument called a tubular retractor is utilized to construct a tiny tunnel. Throughout the procedure, this tube may be used to insert a variety of specialist equipment.

MISS may result in minor discomfort and a shorter recovery time due to its less intrusive nature.


A laser is utilized during laser back surgery to remove tissue from the area around the spinal cord and back nerves. Unlike other forms of back surgery, it may be indicated only in very particular circumstances, such as when nerve compression is causing discomfort.

MISS and laser back surgery are often confused for one another or are supposed to be the same.  This is complicated further by the fact that MISS may sometimes, but not always, utilize lasers.

Laser back surgery is uncommon, and few clinical trials are demonstrating its advantages over other techniques.

What to anticipate

When pressure is applied to a nerve, pain, and suffering may result.

Compression may often be caused by a herniated disc or a bone spur in the spine. Sciatica is a typical example of this ailment, which occurs when the sciatic nerve gets pinched, resulting in discomfort in the lower back and leg.

Lasers may be utilized to assist in decompressing the nerve, hence alleviating pain. This procedure is performed under local anesthetic, which numbs the skin and surrounding muscles of your back.

Additionally, you may be sedated throughout the process.

Percutaneous laser disc decompression is one of the most well-studied procedures of laser back  surgery (PLDD). This surgery employs a laser to remove disc tissue that may be compressing nerves and causing discomfort.

PLDD involves inserting a tiny probe carrying a laser into the afflicted disc’s core. This is made possible via the use of imaging technologies. The laser beam is then utilized to remove any tissue pushing on the nerve gently.


The advantages of laser back surgery include the fact that it is less intrusive than conventional back surgery. Additionally, it may be done under local anesthetic in an outpatient environment. It has a  strong resemblance to MISS in many respects.

There is a shortage of data on the overall efficacy of laser back surgery in contrast to other procedures.

PLDD was compared to another surgical technique termed microdiscectomy in a 2017 study trusted Source. The investigators discovered that both methods had comparable results after a two-year recuperation period.

However, it should be highlighted that when the researchers discussed PLDD, they included extra follow-up surgery as a typical result.


Certain illnesses, such as degenerative spine diseases, may not warrant laser back surgery. Additionally, more sophisticated or complex situations may need a more conventional surgical technique.

One disadvantage of laser back surgery is that you may need further surgery to correct your issue. According to a 2015 study trusted Source, microdiscectomy needed fewer reoperations than PLDD.

Additionally, a 2017 meta-analysis of seven different operations for herniated discs in the lumbar  area found that PLDD had the lowest success rate and the highest reoperation rate.

Adverse consequences

Each surgery has the risk of adverse effects or problems. Additionally, this is true with laser back surgery.

One of the most serious risks associated with laser back surgery is tissue damage. Because the  surgery is performed using a laser, heat damage to the surrounding nerves, bone, and cartilage is  possible.

Infection is another potential consequence. This is possible during probe installation if adequate sanitization protocols are not performed. In rare circumstances, prophylactic antibiotics may be used to assist avoid infection.

Time for recovery

Recovery times vary according to the individual and the technique performed. While some  individuals may be able to resume regular activities quite soon, others may need additional time.  What are the advantages and disadvantages of laser back surgery in comparison to other forms of back surgery?

Traditional back surgery necessitates a hospital stay after the operation, and recovery might take  many weeks. According to the Johns Hopkins Spine Service, individuals receiving standard spine  surgery should anticipate being out of work for 8 to 12 weeks.

On the other hand, MISS is often done as an outpatient operation, which means that you may return  home the same day. In general, individuals who have undergone MISS may return to work within six  weeks.

You may have heard that laser back surgery recovers more quickly than other surgeries. However, very little study has been conducted on how recovery times differ.

Laser Spine Surgery is a Very Dangerous Procedure.

There is no long-term clinical trial in the entire universe of science and medicine that even faintly   implies the treatment is safe or beneficial. It’s marketing, and such assertions are at best ignorantly misleading and at worst a deliberate fabrication and propagation of a falsehood motivated by pure  greed.

Laser spinal surgery may be used to perform any spinal surgery, including laminectomy, discectomy,  or spinal fusion. Although laser spine surgery is significantly different from conventional spine surgery, the distinction is limited to the device utilized to execute the procedure. Otherwise, the  procedures are identical in purpose and execution. A laser, a concentrated beam of light, is used to  create an incision that allows access to the spine during surgery. Laser incisions are far smaller than  knife incisions used in conventional spine surgery. Additionally, the laser is utilized to remove or  rearrange discs, relieving pressure and related discomfort in laser spine surgery.

The advantages of laser surgery over conventional surgery include the fact that it is less intrusive, the smaller incision reduces healing time, and the operation may be performed as an outpatient  procedure.

Those hawking laser spine surgery, on the other hand, casually overlook the fact that this is a clinically untested therapy. Additionally, practically every major health organization that deals with  spinal disorders advise against the use of laser spine surgery.

Both the Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health advise against laser spine surgery. They emphasize that no conclusive clinical trial has been conducted to demonstrate that laser spine  surgery is useful or safe. Indeed, laser spine surgery is an extremely risky procedure.

Infection is one of the biggest dangers linked with laser spine surgery. Laser spine surgery is often done as an outpatient operation, and it is promoted as such. An outpatient operation is when the patient has surgery and then returns home to relax and mend. Because laser spine surgery is an outpatient treatment, patients return home immediately, dramatically increasing the risk of infection.

Another significant risk factor for laser spine surgery is provider mistakes. A laser is a highly concentrated beam of light. The laser-producing equipment must be thoroughly adjusted and  focused since the laserusedinspinalsurgeryisexceedingly harmful.

Dr. Mark McLaughlin asserts  that “the  fact is that minimally invasive spine surgery, or MISS, may be conducted just as  successfully, if not more efficiently, without the use of a laser.” Indeed, over 95% of minimally  invasive spine surgeries performed in the United States are performed without lasers. MISS is determined by the surgical approach to the spine, not by the kind of scalpel used by the surgeon.  

Spine surgeons who do minimally invasive surgery enter via a very tiny incision, often using a microscope or endoscope, and must search around corners to determine the source of the issue. A  laser is a focused beam of light that is unsuitable for eliminating lesions hidden in corners. The classic  scalpel’s ability to properly negotiate angles is acritical aspect.”

Secondly, lasers demolish tissue and cut, but they do so through heat and sometimes gas generation (due to the boiling of water molecules). This heat may be conveyed to neighboring anatomical tissues, causing nerve injury. In comparison, a scalpel is essentially a razor-sharp knife that cuts through tissue but does not  cause heat. In the hands of an experienced surgeon, the accuracy of a scalpel is equivalent to that of  any laser incision.”

Apart from the hazards, Laser Spine Surgery often fails. Recently, a lawsuit was filed in St. Petersburg against the medical practitioner who conducted the surgery, claiming that the Laser Spine Surgery  was ineffective. As a consequence, the patient required more procedures. More procedures result in additional time away from work and protracted suffering.

The medical and scientific communities are vehemently opposed to this treatment. If you are experiencing back discomfort, you should visit a physician and follow their instructions. However, use extreme caution and deliberation before consenting to laser aided spine surgery. There is no evidence that it is either safe or effective. The huge danger is not worth the dubious payoff. Inquire with your doctor about standard spine surgery if it is determined that you do need surgery.

Finally, avoid having spine surgery performed by a physician who is not a certified spine surgeon. In recent years, we have noticed a continuous increase in the number of anesthesiologists and physiatrists doing what would be called invasive spine surgery.

Suppose you or a loved one has had laser spine surgery and thinks it was inefficient in relieving your pain or worsened your condition. In that case, you should immediately contact a Colorado Springs   back  and neck pain attorney. We are always on the side of the wounded. All first meetings are free and completely confidential. Kindly contact us immediately at 719-300-1100.

Warrior Personal Injury Lawyers
1902 W. Colorado Ave., Ste. 100
Colorado Springs, CO 80904

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