Is Laser Spine Surgery Dangerous?
As a personal injury attorney, I am routinely interacting with individuals who sustained serious spinal injuries. As it turns out, the human body was not designed to handle the force created by 2000+ pound metal objects colliding. So, as beautifully designed, as the human spinal anatomy is, spine injuries often result from car accidents.
Just the idea of surgery can be a lot for a person to handle. So, quite often an injured person who has been recommended for spine surgery by an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon/Neurosurgeon will research alternative measures to address the chronic pain and neurological symptoms that are related to severe spinal injuries.
Unfortunately, skeptical spine-injury victims often come upon advertisements for laser spine surgery. This should come as no surprise considering the fact that the marketing gurus at many laser spine surgery practices including Laser Spine Institute have managed to dominate internet search engines for any term related to spinal pathology. While marketing and high tech methods can sometimes appeal to the average person, a minimal amount of research into laser spine surgery turns up some very disconcerting facts. Please consider the following issues:
1. Clinical Studies Have Not Proven the Results. Both the National Institute of Health, and the Mayo Clinic have serious concerns regarding laser spine surgery, as clinical testing has not proven the likelihood of a positive or long lasting outcome from laser spine procedures. A representative from the Mayo Clinic's neurosurgery department has stated that none of Mayo's surgeons use or recommend laser spine surgery. A majority of the elite Neurosurgeons and Orthopedic Spine Surgeons in the Tampa Bay area do not perform laser spine surgery. Further, while the advertisements of “minimally invasive” may sound appealing; we have seen far too many horror stories regarding permanent nerve damage as a result of laser spine surgery.
2. The Smaller Incision Means Limited View For the Surgeon. While you may end up with a smaller scar than if you undergo traditional surgery, the danger of limiting a surgeon's view of your spine is obvious. You also don't want to mix-up laser spine surgery with minimally invasive endoscopic spine surgery. Minimally invasive surgeries generally involve cameras that allow surgeons to view the spine and the traditional instruments being used on a large screen.
3. Laser Spine Surgeries Are Not Always Performed By Orthopedic Surgeons or Neurosurgeons. A Bloomberg article in 2011 highlighted the ugly underbelly of certain spine clinics (including Tampa Bay based Laser Spine Institute). http://www.bloomberg.com/video/69306182-laser-spine-centers-thrive-as-malpractice-suits-mount.html and http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_21/b4229021108723.htm This article uncovered the fact that medical personnel performing laser surgeries can have a background in any field. These doctors sometimes have no background in spinal treatment prior to joining these groups. We know of several medical practices in which Anesthesiologists and other physicians who are not Spine Surgeons are performing laser spine procedures. This is indeed very scary !!.
4. Laser Spine Surgery Is More Business than Treatment. The same Bloomberg expose brought to light the high rate of laser spine surgeries performed, suggesting the possibility that the surgeries may be recommended and performed for pecuniary gain as opposed to meritorious reasons. In addition, Laser Spine Institute has a much higher rate of malpractice than the national average according to Bloomberg.,
So what does this mean? In my opinion, it means don't buy the hype. Discuss your surgical options with proven Orthopedic Spine Surgeons or Neurosurgeons. If they suggest that you consider laser spine surgery, get a second opinion. Always investigate the physicians you are treating with. Please see the following articles I have drafted concerning laser spine surgery:
As a personal injury attorney in Clearwater, I take the time to research the doctors that my clients choose. A client's health and well-being are always my first priority. If you have neck or back pain following an accident, it's just as important to be informed about your legal representation as your doctors. Call Dolman Law Group for a free case consultation and learn about how we bring a personal touch to your personal injury case.