Many people refer to minimally invasive spine surgery as laser spine surgery. However, lasers are rarely used in spinal surgery, and probably not in the way you think.

Laser spine surgery has simply become a common term used by the public, but it’s important to know exactly what minimally invasive spine surgery is, and just where the lasers come in.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Minimally invasive spine surgery involves the surgeon making a very small incision and using specialized instruments—including a miniature camera—to operate. Minimally invasive surgery has been proven to improve surgical outcomes and to significantly increase recovery time. This is because the muscles are not cut, resulting in reduced pain.

But What About the Lasers?

It’s true that lasers are used in many types of surgeries, including cosmetic procedures, in eye surgery, to remove tumors, and to seal small blood vessels. However, for the vast majority of spine surgeries patients may need, minimally invasive spine surgery is what is prescribed.

Lasers are not used in cutting or to make incisions in spine surgery. They have been used to remove tumors from the spinal cord and to shrink spinal disc tissue, but those are very specific instances. Most patients will require minimally invasive surgery.

The Bottom Line

Don’t let the terminology fool you. If you’ve been searching online for laser spine surgery, talk to one of our experienced physicians about what that means and how it applies to your unique circumstances. Our dedicated and caring team is here to answer your questions and to help both you and your spine get the support you need.

Learn more about common spinal bone, joint, and muscle conditions we treat, including: