Lasers in Spine Surgery

Kris Radcliff, Alexander R Vaccaro, Alan Hilibrand, Gregory D Schroeder
Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2019 September 1, 27 (17): 621-632
Laser spine surgery has been a focus of intense interest in the lay press and among patients. On the Internet, a host of purported benefits to laser surgery exists. Lasers have long been used in pain management procedures such as percutaneous diskectomy. However, a few published articles are available on lasers in conventional spine surgery. From our review of the literature, the purported advantages of lasers, such as reduced inflammation and degeneration, are not been supported by preclinical research. The available clinical studies do not show a notable advantage for laser surgery. Moreover, the low enrollment, nonblinded, retrospective studies that are available are heavily subject to bias. The documented advantages of laser spine surgery described in the research studies are not consistent with the public's impression of its purported benefits. Furthermore, laser-specific complications are present about which patients should be informed. On the basis of the current research, we conclude that lasers add distinct potential complications without any corresponding clinical benefit. Because of the public interest, we feel that this is an important topic for the general orthopaedic community.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"

We want to hear from doctors like you!

Take a second to answer a survey question.