Thursday, March 19, 2009



Laser Cuts Back Surgery Recovery Time

A new laser technique has reduced the recovery time required for spinal fusion from six weeks to as little as five days.

In the past people with severe back pain had few real options for pain relief other than traditional spinal fusion surgery, which involved a lot of downtime and a painful recovery period. Now a relatively new, less-invasive procedure is available for treatment of painful back conditions such as degenerative disc disease and spinal arthritis.

The laser technique requires a very small, 1-inch incision, which results in a quicker recovery and, barring complications, eliminates the need for prolonged hospitalization. According to Dr. Rich C. Richley, the medical director of the Laser Spine Institute, many people who resorted to spinal fusion in the past could have obtained the same results from the newer surgery.

Plenty of people will benefit from this new technique in the future. According to Medline Plus, a National Library of Medicine website, a whopping 80 percent of adults will suffer from back pain at some point.

More than 8,000 patients have received the new laser surgery, which is performed on an outpatient basis, at the Laser Spine Institute in Florida. The Institute opened another location in Scottsdale, Arizona in September.



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