Sierra Neurosurgery Group - Joseph R. Walker, MD, FAANS

The Medical Lasers used in surgery project a small beam of high energy light that burns and vaporizes tissue.

Lasers have been used in surgical procedures for several decades. In fact we first started using the laser to vaporize difficult spinal cord and brain tumors in the 1980’s.

After all of this time, however, there is still no scientifically proven benefit for spine disc removal by laser, as compared to other spine surgical techniques that our surgeons perform.

Laser spine surgery is a term that is sometimes used to market spine surgery.

Patients sometimes inquire about Laser Spine Surgery and often are led to believe that this is noninvasive and involves less risk compared to conventional surgery.

However, these Laser spine procedures actually involve surgery. They require incisions to allow access to the spine, the bone and ligaments are removed using more conventional surgical techniques and the laser is often only used to remove the soft tissues around the spine and disc but offers no advantage and may be harmful.

According to the North American Spine Society’s 2014 recommendations, “Due to lack of high quality clinical trials concerning laser spine surgery of the cervical and lumbar spine, it cannot be endorsed as an adjunct to open, minimally invasive, or percutaneous surgical techniques.”

Joseph R. Walker, MD
Board Certified Neurological Surgeon
Sierra Neurosurgery Group