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Procedure and Advantages of Laser Spine Surgery

What is Laser Spine Surgery?

If you suffer from agonizing back or neck pain as a result of a herniated disc, PLDD (Percutaneous Laser Disc Decompression) offers quick relief without surgery. PLDD is a minimally invasive laser treatment performed on an outpatient basis using only local anesthesia. During the procedure, a laser beam vaporizes a tiny portion of the disc, decompressing it. Patients typically get off the table and go home. There is no hospital stay, no long recovery period, and PLDD costs thousands of dollars less than surgery.

Who should consider Laser Spine Surgery?

This procedure is specifically designed for patients with disc problems accompanied by the following:

  • Severe leg, arm, neck or lower back pain.
  • Pain that has not responded to six weeks of conservative treatments, e.g., bed rest, medications or physical therapy.
  • Herniated lumbar discs confirmed by x-ray studies that may include one or more of the following:
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
    • CAT Scanning
    • Myelography
    • Discography

Procedure of Laser Spine Surgery:

Utilizing Arthroscopy, Endoscopes and Microscopic techniques to perform highly specific minimally invasive spinal surgery The PLDD treatment is performed on an outpatient basis using only local anesthesia. During the procedure, a thin needle is inserted into the herniated disc under x-ray guidance. An optical fiber is inserted through the needle and laser energy is sent through the fiber, vaporizing a tiny portion of the disc nucleus. This creates a partial vacuum, which draws the herniation away from the nerve root, thereby relieving the pain. The effect usually is immediate.

Patients get off the table with just a small adhesive bandage and return home for 24 hours of bed rest. Then patients begin progressive ambulation, walking up to a mile. Most return to work in four to five days. Because only a thin needle is used, there is no cutting and no scarring. Since only a tiny amount of disc is vaporized, there is no subsequent spinal instability. PLDD is different from open lumbar disc surgery because there is no damage to the back muscle, any bone removal or large skin incision. Most of the complications that may occur with open surgery are eliminated with the PLDD procedure.

Advantages of Laser Spine Surgery:

  • Minimally invasive
  • No cutting
  • No scarring
  • No general anesthesia
  • No hospital stay
  • Short recovery period
  • Costs 1/3 to 1/2 of conventional surgery

What are your results of Laser Spine Surgery?

It depends on patients problem, if a patient had prior surgery, and the amount of nerve damage you have had. For patients who have never had spinal surgery, the results are similar to conventional surgery. Thus, about 70 to 90% of our patients get what they term as “good to excellent” relief. This compares to conventional surgery where most get 50 to 70% “good to excellent” results. Cervical problems generally have a better success rate than lumbar problems and patients without prior spinal surgeries usually have a better success rate than those with prior surgeries.

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