Spinal surgeon Dr. James St. Louis, from the Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, Florida, narrates an animation describing how a laser spine surgery is performed.
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Laser Spine Surgery Dr. Travis Stork: -- is here today along with Dr. St. Louis from the Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, Florida. I want to welcome both of you. And before we get started, first thing is first. How are you feeling? Kate: I am feeling great. Dr. Travis Stork: Symptoms are better. Kate: Amazingly better. Dr. Travis Stork: And explain everyone what was causing Kate’s pain. Dr. St. Louis: Sure. Kate’s pain was caused by a pinched nerve in her neck, then the pinched nerve cause pain, go from her neck and radiate down into her arm. And then her low back, she had some inflamed nerves that was causing rather severe back pain. Dr. Travis Stork: So let’s talk about the laser surgery that you performed. Dr. St. Louis: Sure. There’s a picture of a cervical spine which is your neck and you can see a series of tubes being set down on top of the bone which is the bone covering the spinal canal. And you can see insertion of the laser, the laser is used to remove the tissue around the spinal bone, we use a series of instruments which open the tissue, remove the tissue, and open the bone that get into the -- that covered the spinal canal and that covers the pinched nerve. And subsequently we remove the tissue and the bones that was pinching the nerve. Dr. Travis Stork: And will you show us the scar? Dr. St. Louis: Sure, I’d be glad to. As you can see the incisions is only about a half inch to an inch and this is what differentiates us significantly from open spine surgery. We’re able to do the surgery through a series of dilating tubes which allow us to access without having to cut the muscle versus open surgery, you have to make a three to maybe six inches incision and you have to actually tear some of the muscles out. With what we’re doing, we separate the muscles and when there’s no requirement to actually tear the muscles to gain access to the problem that Kate had. Dr. Travis Stork: So what’s recovery look like for Kate then? Dr. St. Louis: It should be one to two weeks. At one to two weeks, she’s pretty much returning to most of her activities. Dr. Travis Stork: Now I do say, the NIH says that laser discectomy is still been debated, does insurance cover this? Dr. St. Louis: Yes, insurance carriers cover this. What we do that separates us from many different centers is we actually remove the bone to get to the spinal stenosis. We actually take special surgical instruments to actually remove the offending bone and bones first versus just working on the disc. Dr. Travis Stork: And we actually have Jody here who had this surgery done and Jody, how are you feeling? Jody: I’m great. It was three years ago that I had this surgery and it’s like it never happened. I love a completely pain free life. I have no hard where my neck like traditional surgery and I get to be mom again. And I think that’s the best part. Dr. Travis Stork: We’re glad that you’re feeling good and Kate, we’re glad you’re feeling good as well. Dr. St. Louis, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

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