Does Neck Laser Surgery Work?

When you suffer from chronic spinal pain in the neck or back, you are probably too familiar with pain relievers. You may also have undergone physical therapy and other treatments for your spinal issues. In addition, you may have suffered years of pain and frustration due to these problems. After a time, surgery may be your only option. If you need an operation, should laser surgery be a part of the plan?


You may confuse laser surgery with minimally invasive spinal surgery. In fact, minimally invasive surgery relies on small incisions and then the use of an endoscope. The surgeon can see the spine and find areas of damage without severing the muscles, so recovery time is greatly reduced. Laser surgery is often used in conjunction with this procedure, removing damaged tissue without using a scalpel to cut it out. The laser must be inserted into the incision as well, so no surgery is completely incisionless. However, traditional cutting is kept to a minimum.


Lasers can be used in a procedure called rhizotomy, which zaps the small nerves in the facet joints. This act helps those with arthritic joints get some relief from back pain. Laser disc compression "cuts" out some disc contents to lessen  the pain of nerve compression in your legs. Also, laser annuloplasty helps treat tears in the disc walls, a procedure that can also lessen your chronic back pain. Again, most surgeons do not limit themselves to just one tool. They prefer to use multiple approaches to give you relief from pain and improve your mobility.


Laser surgery is not a cure-all, but when it is used properly and with reasonable expectations, it can improve your spinal issues. Laser-assisted surgery can be done on an outpatient basis and requires only a small incision, usually only about an inch long. You will have little scar tissue and a short recovery period. Many people who undergo this type of surgery are quite satisfied and relieved to escape traditional back operations.

Although you may have heard about the miracle of laser surgery, you need to understand that being zapped by a laser is not going to cure your spine. However, it is a helpful option in a comprehensive pain-relief plan. When you consult with your specialist, be certain to inquire about all the tools they will use in your surgery. The goal for them is to be minimally invasive while they give you a better life.