With new techniques, back surgery doesn’t have to disrupt your life.
Sometimes referred to as “same-day surgery,” outpatient laser spine surgery is any type of spine-related procedure that’s done in a way that allows patients to be discharged on the same day. Surgery performed with lasers typically involves minimally invasive techniques designed to reduce patient risks and shorten overall healing and recovery times.
With outpatient laser spine surgery (LSS), many of the same conditions that can be treated with traditional surgery can often be effectively corrected.
What Is Laser Spine Surgery?
Laser spine surgery is so-named because it uses a focused beam of light to perform certain parts of the procedure. However, laser surgery isn’t all that different from other types of surgery in that traditional techniques are also used to complete many operations. It’s common for LSS that’s done as an outpatient procedure to be performed on patients with a herniated disc to remove the damaged part of the disc, although other types of stabilization and decompression surgery can also be performed. Some procedures include the use of a technique known as ablation, which refers to the destruction of problematic tissues or the ends of nerves with laser-generated heat.
What Conditions May Be Treated with Outpatient LSS?
Very few spine problems are too complicated for less-invasive laser spine surgery techniques. Still, not all procedures can be performed as outpatient surgery. Conditions likely to be corrected on an outpatient basis include the removal of bone spurs affected nerves, laminotomies to remove a small part of a vertebral bone (lamina) to create more room nerves and other decompression procedures, and microdiscectomies to relieve pain linked to discs in the lower back or cervical spine (neck).
In some instances, a lumbar spinal fusion may be performed as outpatient laser spine surgery. Same-day laser surgery could also be an option for patients experiencing the following symptoms or conditions:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Pinched or compressed nerves
- Spinal stenosis
- Radiating nerve pain
Who is an Ideal Candidate for Outpatient Laser Spine Surgery?
Preferred candidates generally need to have been living with back or neck pain and/or leg or neck pain for about 2-3 months that hasn’t responded well to medication, physical therapy, and other conservative treatments. Experiencing discomfort in the same place could also be an indication that there’s a clear source of pain that may be treatable with outpatient laser spine surgery. Additionally, good candidates for same-day laser spine procedures are individuals with:
- No other significant health issues
- Sufficient support at home from family members or friends
- Realistic expectations of possible results
- Weight that’s within a normal range
As is the case with any type of minimally invasive surgery, laser spine surgery isn’t for everyone. A final determination will be made during an initial patient evaluation. This is when patients are given a full assessment to determine if the likely source of pain can be corrected with LSS performed as a same-day outpatient procedure. Even with same-day surgery, patients are usually advised to rest for a day or two and slowly ease back into their normal routine. Additional patient-specific instructions will be given.