Laser Back Surgery – Is it Right for You?
Laser back surgery can provide many advantages over an open back operation, but how do you know if you’re a candidate for one of these state-of-the-art procedures? Only your doctor can tell you for sure, but this article will provide some general information about who might be a candidate for an endoscopic spine procedure.
Most patients are only advised to consider undergoing laser back surgery when conservative, nonsurgical treatments have proven unsuccessful. Your physician may advise you try all (or the vast majority) of the most common conservative treatments before even thinking about surgery. These common nonsurgical treatments include:
- Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in the neck and back
- Cryotherapy, or the application of ice to reduce inflammation and numb pain
- Thermotherapy, or the application of heat to relieve tension and promote healing
- Lifestyle modifications – such as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, and losing weight – to improve your overall level of health
- Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and analgesics such as acetaminophen
Keep in mind that even if your physician urges you to think about undergoing laser back surgery, you aren’t obligated to consent to the operation. Even though endoscopic spinal procedures require less recovery and rehabilitation than open back surgeries, you will still be undergoing an operation on your spine and will still face certain risks. Make sure you’re completely comfortable with all of the risks your physician mentions and that you’re prepared to work toward your complete recovery.
If you’d like to receive a second opinion before you consent to laser back surgery, just be open with your physician. He or she should understand that this is an important decision that you don’t want to take lightly.