Laser Spine Surgery will have you playing golf the next day! Or so we are told in splashy magazine ads and videos. We all wish this was true, but conditions and individuals are all unique and few patients are likely to have this quick a result.
Lasers may be used in surgery, but they are not typically a healing component of the surgery. And, depending on the type of spine surgery you have, lasers may not be used at all.
A standard tool used in many procedures is an electrosurgical tool called a "Bovie", named after it’s inventor. It's not a laser. This tool uses electric current to electrocoagulate, or cauterize wounds. In some instances, a laser may be used to perform a similar function. Unlike a laser, the Bovie is applied directly to tissue with instant results, where a laser is pointed and can overheat surrounding tissue. So why don’t we hear about the Bovie instrument?
The reason you hear about Lasers, and not other tools like the Bovie, is simple: The word "laser" sounds cool. It sounds like science fiction and futuristic tools, which we all assume are better - because its in the future! It's marketing jargon, not medical knowledge.The fact is that the use of lasers in actual surgery is minimal at best, and offer no additional value than the standard instruments used. But don’t take our word for it. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Mayo Clinic the usefulness of laser surgery is still unproven.
Finally, remember the point of laser spine surgery - to help treat your spinal condition. There are many treatment options available to you, and your doctor will discuss the course of treatment that is applicable to you and your condition, and will offer the best outcome opportunities.