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Ease back pain with the help of Universal Care Surgery Center.

The spongy discs that cushion the spine are susceptible to damage from injury or age-related wear and tear. If you’re not experiencing relief from non-surgical treatments, you may benefit from laser endoscopic microdiscectomy.

  • It’s a minimally invasive procedure designed to ease pain linked to bulging (herniated) or slipped spinal discs (spondylolisthesis).
  • The most common area of the back affected by disc problems is the lower (lumbar) spine.
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Why Consider Laser Endoscopic Microdiscectomy?

Laser endoscopic microdiscectomy is an outpatient procedure that’s performed differently from traditional discectomies. Yet results can be similar to what’s experienced with more invasive or extensive procedures. It’s worth considering if you’re experiencing chronic lower back pain that’s disruptive enough to affect your daily life. Patients often experience:

  • Faster healing at the site of the procedure
  • Reduced risk of damage to nearby tissues
  • An ability to return to normal activities sooner
  • Decreased scarring since incisions are smaller

How It Works

A laser endoscopic microdiscectomy does not require disturbance of adjacent muscles or tissues. During the procedure, a needle is carefully inserted into the disc space. The surgeon is guided by a special tube with an attached camera (endoscope). The procedure does not involve the removal of disc material. The jelly-like inner core of the vertebral disc (nucleus pulposus) is burned with a laser.

The laser can be targeted in a way that’s very precise without the need to insert multiple surgical instruments. The specific laser wavelength used will depend on the location of the disc. It’s a technique that eliminates the need to remove any of the actual disc, so the spine will remain stable. A laser endoscopic microdiscectomy can also be performed without general anesthesia and does not prevent a patient from having other procedures in the future if other issues with lower back pain develop.

Before and After Surgery

Prior to surgery, a patient will be thoroughly evaluated to determine if it’s an issue with a specific disc that’s causing lower back or radiating nerve pain. Some initial rest will be necessary after the procedure. Extensive physical therapy or rehab isn’t usually required since muscles don’t need to be reconditioned or strengthened.

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Increased Availability and Acceptance

While a laser endoscopic microdiscectomy is a fairly new procedure, it is gaining increased acceptance. According to one estimate, the infection rate with procedures like this is less than half a percent. The infection rate with traditional procedures is nearly 20 percent. It’s not ideal for all types of disc damage. However, the technique tends to be effective for lateral cervical disc herniation and situations where there is less extensive disc damage.

The general recommendation is to attempt non-surgical treatments for 5-6 months before considering surgery. Preferred candidates for procedures like a laser endoscopic microdiscectomy are patients without serious underlying health conditions. The primary source of lower back pain must also be related to a disc. For patients who respond well to laser surgery, the results often include restored mobility and discomfort that’s either completely eliminated or manageable.