Is Laser Spine Surgery Effective?


Quick Answer

Laser spine surgery has not been shown effective, as of 2015, is often unnecessary, and it may even be harmful to the patient, according to Princeton Brain and Spine. The benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery can be achieved without the use of a laser.

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Full Answer

Although laser spine surgery is often touted as being less invasive than traditional methods for such surgeries, the procedure for laser spine surgeries involve incisions that can lead to serious complications, states Mayo Clinic in a 2009 Chicago Tribune article. Mayo Clinic does not conduct laser spine surgeries at all for this reason. Traditional, minimally invasive spinal surgery has been shown to be highly effective in clinical trials, whereas although laser spine surgery has been used since the 1980s, its effectiveness has not been confirmed in such trials, as of 2015.

The Food and Drug Administration tightly controls drugs and medical devices, and approves or denies their use according to their effectiveness, but there is little if any federal regulations concerning the effectiveness of surgical procedures, reports Bloomberg Business. This has led to a proliferation of independently owned surgical clinics that offer procedures to patients, emphasizing the use of advanced technology, that have not been proven effective and can often be harmful. These establishments often bring in patients through direct marketing and are highly profitable.

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