Thursday, 16 October 2014

Is Laser Effective in Disc Decompression of Spinal Stenosis Patients?

Many people think of laser surgery as new and cutting edge and the answer to many health problems, but it's actually been around for decades and is only effective for certain things. While lasers may have merit for eye surgery, the technology is virtually useless for spine surgery, according to Peter Ullrich, Jr. MD. The following information explains some of the myths surrounding laser surgery regarding Spinal Stenosis patients.

What Lasers Do 
A laser is a powerful directional beam of light that can cut through soft tissue. Lasers are not at all useful for decompression techniques. Yet there is still a perception among Spinal Stenosis patients that it works for spine surgery due to it being used as an effective placebo and is often cited as a second opinion, which many times generates a perception of deeper insight. A placebo is something that creates a psychological form of healing based on trust and expectation. 

The truth is that lasers are most effective as short-term marketing tools, but they do not prevent pain from reoccurring within a few weeks after surgery, since the psychological effect of the placebo wears off. That's because the pain is really caused by a bone pressing against the nerve root and laser surgery does not remove the bone.

Better Solution for the Spine
Electrocautery is a more useful and effective type of surgery for Spinal Stenosis patients. It uses a metal probe heated by electric current. Not only can this process cut soft tissue, it can compress the nerve, allowing it to mechanically grab and remove the disc fragment. It's also safer than a laser, which cannot cut bone but can damage the nerve root near the disc. Electrocautery is also considered more effective than chemical cautery, which presents risks of chemicals affecting neighboring organs.