Are lasers used for spinal surgery?

Lasers are an intense, concentrated beam of energy, and can be used surgically for cutting, coagulating, and ablating tissues.

Lasers have been used in medicine for decades, especially in ophthalmology and dermatology. 

However, lasers do not have a well-accepted role in spinal surgery. This is because the use of a high-energy laser beam very close to the spinal cord or nerve roots can be fraught with complications, including thermal injury to the nerves. 

Therefore, we do not recommend the use of lasers in spinal surgery. Furthermore, none of the published literature on the use of lasers in spinal surgery has been able to show any conclusive advantage to the use of lasers compared to non-laser minimally-invasive surgery. 

In fact, “laser spine surgery” is usually used as a misleading marketing tool. 

If you have been offered laser spine surgery, we recommend seeking a second opinion.