Laser Spine Surgery – What’s the Hype?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in laser spine surgery. You’re hoping to find out what it can do for you, especially if you have a chronic condition of the spine that’s causing you pain. It’s a natural (and laudable) impulse to seek out answers when you have a physical problem.

But is laser surgery all it’s cracked up to be?

The advent of the use of lasers in surgery is nothing new. They’ve been around since the early 1970s. But recently, there’s been a pronounced spike in public interest around lasers as a minimally invasive answer to spine surgery.

And that’s where the going gets murky.

The term “minimally invasive” implies that the lasers used somehow reduce the invasive nature of spine surgery. In fact, lasers are used only at the initiation of the procedure. After an incision is made, the laser is used to clear soft tissue away from the vertebrae – that’s it.

When the term “laser spine surgery” is used, patients are often led to believe that the procedure renders the intervention less difficult or invasive. That is simply not the case. In fact, lasers can contribute to increased complications.

Clinical studies.

If you’re interested in laser spine surgery, you’ve doubtless made the rounds of the internet to read about it. But in your research, have you encountered any conclusive clinical evidence to back up the claims you’ve been reading?

We’re willing to bet you haven’t.

There is no clinical support for the dramatic claims made on behalf of laser spine surgery. In fact, the Mayo Clinic does not support the use of lasers in spine surgery. Dr. Gordon Deen, a doctor at the Mayo Clinic’s Jacksonville, Florida facility, recently responded to a reader question in the Chicago Tribune by stating,

“Very few neurosurgeons regard laser spine surgery as a viable alternative to conventional spine surgery techniques.”


Dr. Joshua Rovner of Progressive Spine and Orthopedics concurs, counseling that robotic spine surgery is the preferable alternative. Due to the precision offered by the Mezor Robots Renaissance Guidance System technology, this revolutionary form of surgery is true to its claim of being minimally invasive. Further, it precludes the need for extensive X-rays.

By providing surgeons with a 3D environment in which to preview surgery, a surgical strategy can be mapped out and tailored to individual patients prior to the actual operation. The possibility of nerve damage and complications is radically reduced, as the surgeon is provided with a clear image of the patient’s unique spinal anatomy.

Dr. Rovner’s opinion is that minimally invasive procedures which don’t involve the use of lasers are vastly superior to the much-vaunted laser spine surgery option. Even more traditional methods render patient outcomes which far outpace the success of surgery employing lasers.

To conclude then, the hype is just that – hype.

Spine surgery specialists.

At Progressive Spine, we’re spine surgery specialists who believe in evidence-based therapies which have been proven effective in clinical trials and patient outcomes. We invite you to schedule a consultation with us to explore effective surgical options.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.