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L5-S1 Laser Discectomy

nacho24nnacho24 Posts: 14
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm scheduled for my first back operation next Tuesday and was wondering if anyone else has had any experience with this particular one. What can I expect in the realm of post op pain? I'm thrilled to finally get this over with but am now getting a little nervous as the surgeon said I should expect to miss about 3 weeks of work.

Thanks in advance.


  • ETA: I guess what I'm having done is an endoscopic discectomy with the use of a laser. Thanks!
  • I'm not familiar with this.
    I did have 2 microdiscectomies at L5-S1. I don't believe they used a laser but instead cut away the disc material that came out and was impinging the nerve.

    My experience might be similar. I have about a 2 inche (max) incision. The surgery was fairly quick (I think 90 minutes in total). Recovery was different each time as far as the first 24-48 hours are concerned. The first time, I felt like I was hit across the lower back...just very sore. The second time, I really didn't hurt much at all. My procedure was 'out patient'. This means that they anticipate being able to release you from the hospital within 23 hours but don't get concerned if you stay longer.

    I am interested to see what others post b/c the laser approach sounds intriguing to me. They do amazing things with laser treatments.
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  • As far as I know, laser is being used only for those patients who have bulging discs instead of ruptured ones, which is very logical: laser evaporates a tiny portion of a disc so the pressure within the disc drops down and this might help to free the compressed nerve root, so if you have a ruptured disc this surgery (perhaps) will not help you. Ruptured discs are treated differently.
  • With laser disc material is not removed; instead, nucleus pulposus is burned by the laser.

    Whether they use laser or not the surgery is the same. You get a micro/discectomy it is minimally invasive, day surgery.

    The process is the same. The difference is the tool inserted in the tube during surgery and how it removes disc material, ie, chopping it or burning it.

    The laser outfits argue it it better to use laser. Hard to say, there are no real studies to prove it. Not to mention the few laser surgery outfits that market heavily. A lot of what they do is/was not covered by insurance.
  • mine is covered by insurance so i'm thinking it is just the fact that the neurosurgeon doesn't cut the disc but burns it off with a laser instead.
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  • Thanks for the explanation on the use of laser surgery. very helpful.
  • With the way there doing it, I believe it alot easier for you.When they have to make an incision there cutting muscles. Recovery should be easier, having done the way you are.
    I can only speak for myself it was'nt as bad as I thought, I was totally freaking out. I was never in any excruciating pain.
    I'm not a Dr but I have had a few surgeries.
    It will go well.
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