Laser spine surgery is a popular term used in conjunction with minimally invasive spine surgery. In many cases, an endoscopic technique for reducing back and neck pain. When completed successfully, it has a shorter recovery time than other spine surgery procedures. But, like all forms of back and neck surgery, it is also at risk for failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS), a condition that means that the patient experiences pain after recovery.
Failed laser spine surgery can be frustrating, especially because the primary purpose of electing for this type of procedure is to reduce pain. It is also complicated by the fact that, surprisingly, not all laser spine surgery uses lasers, and not all surgeons select the right candidates for the procedure. As confusing as that may sound, laser spine surgery is actually better described as a laser-assisted spinal procedure.
Luckily, treatment for failed laser spine surgery is possible. But proper diagnosis from experts in FBSS is important.
What Is Laser Spine Surgery?
There are many treatment options available for different types of back pain. Many of them involve invasive surgery. But orthopedic surgeons are always interested in using tools that attract some of the more reluctant patients, and may recommend something called “laser spine surgery.”
Traditional surgery for back and neck pain relies on cuts with a scalpel and similar tools. These can damage the surrounding tissues, increase the risk of infection, and delay healing time. Laser spine surgery uses a laser to make more precise cuts that do not damage the skin and tissues as much as traditional methods. This means:
- Significantly smaller incisions.
- Faster healing time.
- Less risk of recovery complications.
It also means less scarring, and a smaller open wound, which helps patients feel more comfortable with the procedure.
It should be noted, however, that not all laser spine surgery uses lasers. Instead, it is used interchangeably as a term for “minimally invasive surgery.” That means, even if you elected for laser spine surgery, your surgeon may use another minimally invasive technique. The result and idea are still the same – make a smaller, more precise cut, and avoid the need for more open surgery.
Why Does Laser Spine Surgery Fail?
Failed laser spine surgery is unfortunately very common, and that is because it is simply not the right option for most patients. Minimally invasive spine surgery can be effective, but very few patients are good candidates. Most spine surgeries require the removal of bone, addressing issues related to the surrounding vertebrae, and more. These are generally not possible with laser spine surgery. A laser used in spine surgery can only cut soft tissue, it cannot cut bone.
Similarly, small incisions simply do not make sense for surgeries that require fusion or those that require the installation of hardware. Lasers themselves may also damage nerves, which in turn can lead to other challenges – including pain.
Laser spine surgery can be useful. But for many patients, it is simply “too good to be true,” and selected only because it sounds like a better alternative for those that fear surgery. When used on the wrong candidates, failed spine surgery is unfortunately quite common.
Treatment For Failed Laser Spine Surgery
Although there are many possible reasons that laser spine surgery may not have been successful, the most common reason is that the patient is simply not the right candidate, no matter what their surgeon may have advised. Using the appropriate treatment is far more likely to yield the positive result they had been looking for.
At Spine Center Atlanta, we provide diagnosis and treatment for failed spine surgery for those both in Atlanta and throughout the United States. Dr. James Chappuis is considered a nationally recognized leader in FBSS treatment, and his team can help you find the best possible treatment for successfully living pain-free. For more information about our FBSS treatments, please call us today at 404-351-5812.