Spinal stenosis can be a tremendously painful condition for many people. Characterized by narrowing of spaces in the spine, spinal stenosis causes the bone of the spine to begin putting pressure on the spinal cord as well as the nerves. For some, this condition can go relatively unnoticed, but others are not so unlucky. Spinal stenosis may also get worse over time in certain individuals, increasing the pain it causes. Symptoms of spinal stenosis can include tingling, numbness, weakness or cramping due to the pressure on the nerves. And few may realize how common it actually is, affecting 2 out of 3 individuals age 60 and over. Luckily it can be treated. While pain medication and muscle relaxers may be able to help, a much more effective treatment for many involves a laser. And while laser surgery for spinal stenosis may sound like a frightening prospect at first, it is actually a relatively easy, albeit complex and effective treatment for spinal stenosis.
About the Surgery
Laser surgery for spinal stenosis is a minimally invasive surgery that can help decompress the spine. First the location of the pain site is determined, and from that analysis the doctor will establish the area that needs surgery. With laser surgery, a small incision is made into the spinal area using a laser in order to ease the bone of the spine off the spinal cord and nerves. The disc material around the nerves is reduced so that this pressure is minimized. With this technique, such a small incision is made that recovery time is much quicker than with more invasive surgical techniques.
- Minimally invasive
- Quick recovery time
- Reduces pain
Laser Surgery Complications
Like any type of surgery there is always a risk of complications. If a patient receives an inadequate operation, there may be a need for additional surgery. This is fairly common and can affect how long it will take for your pain to be treated. And while laser surgery is often the best option for limiting nerve damage, nerve damage may still occur. If under the care of an inexperienced surgeon you may be subjected to nerve damage and even nerve damage which can cause further pain. That’s why it is important to find an experienced surgeon. So remember to do your research.
- Additional surgery may be necessary
- Nerve damage risk lower
- Nerve damage possible with inexperienced surgeon
While laser surgery may sound like the most appealing surgery due to its minimally invasive nature, it may not be the best treatment option for all cases. It is usually used in spinal stenosis cases of mild severity. Certain individuals may find little improvement from laser surgery, and therefore will not be candidates for this form of surgery. A more invasive surgery may be required. While it can help people in some cases it may not help everyone depending on the severity of their case. Currently, there have not been enough controlled clinical trials for laser spinal stenosis surgery to confirm or make any claims to the extent of its effectiveness. It is certainly not a cure for spinal stenosis and should not be treated as such. Be sure to explore other options and inquire about your surgeon’s qualifications before committing to surgery.
- Not for everyone
- Cannot cure spinal stenosis
- Consider other options
Laser Spinal stenosis surgery may be a tremendously effective treatment for mild cases of spinal stenosis. But even as a minimally invasive surgery, there is still risk of nerve damage and complications. Because laser surgery may not be the best option for every patient, it is important to keep an open mind and consider other options if necessary. If you have spinal stenosis and are seeking treatment, talk to your doctor about laser surgery and other options you may have.