Laser Back Surgery Has Lower Infection Risk Than Back Fusion
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 02:44

Some individuals who experience chronic low back pain will eventually need back surgery if conservative treatments fail to bring relief. However, they need to be aware of the risks that come with back operations and the ways to minimize them.

Open back surgery, in particular, has been known to carry risks such as blood loss, extensive scarring, long recovery and wound site infections. However, given medical advances in recent years, scientists mined the database of morbidity and mortality associated with spine procedure of The Scoliosis Research Society. They analyzed more than 108,000 operations performed between the years 2004 to 2007 to determine where infection rates stood, given the current state of medical care standards.

The researchers, who published their results in The Journal Spine, found that the overall post-operative infection rate was 2.1, although in adult patients it varied between 1.4 percent for degenerative disease to 4.2 percent for kyphosis. In children, the rate ranged from 0.9 percent for degenerative disease to 5.4 percent for kyphosis.

Among the factors, scientists identified that what increased the risk of infections were repeat surgeries and the use of implants. Moreover, back fusion surgeries for lumbar discectomy had a higher rate of infection than the minimally invasive option.

In conclusion, study authors wrote that "This data provides general benchmarks of infection rates as a basis for ongoing efforts to improve safety of care."

As the medical community works to minimize infection rates, patients who are considering back surgery should inquire with their doctors about endoscopic discectomy. The spine procedure is performed at Spine Centers of America by experienced board certified spine surgeons such as Dr. Bryan Massoud, who are highly credentialed and fellowship-trained.

During the procedure, the spine surgeon makes only a small incision in order to access the targeted area and vaporize the abnormal growth using a laser. The procedure takes less than one hour and is performed under local anesthesia. As a result, the patient experiences only minimal scarring and their recovery time is dramatically reduced. In fact, most individuals are able to resume their daily activities in just a few weeks, as opposed to months that it may take to recover from open back fusion.

According to the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons, more than 4.5 million Americans will need back surgery at some point in their lives, and our spine specialists already perform more spine procedures than any other type of procedure in the U.S.

For more information about a spine condition and what we can do to help, please call 877-722-6008 today.