Dr. Mark McLaughlin discuses lasers in spine surgery — 95% of spine procedures are without lasers

Written by Mackenzie Garrity | April 10, 2018 | Print  |

With an increasing demand for minimally invasive surgery, many device companies are continuing to develop lasers for spine surgery.

However, Mack McLaughlin, MD, of Princeton (N.J.) Brain & Spine, shared his reasons behind abandoning lasers for spine surgery.

Here's what you need to know.

1. Dr. McLaughlin notes the development of lasers for minimally invasive surgery has benefited lipomeningocele surgery; however, if used in complex spine surgeries, lasers may be harmful.

2. The spine surgeon doesn't want to be closed minded to the developments of minimally invasive surgery although. He emphasized more than 95 percent of minimally invasive spine procedures in the U.S. are performed without lasers.

3. Minimally invasive spine surgery is based upon the approach and not the kind of scalpel a surgeon uses. Dr. McLaughlin also points how a laser scalpel is ill suited for removing lesions hiding around corners as it's a straight beam of light not an endoscope.

4. Additionally, lasers can destroy tissue and simultaneously transfer heat to adjacent nerves causing damage. Lasers also do not always give surgeon control with the length or distance of the cuts being made.

5. Dr. McLaughlin recommends asking these questions before choosing a laser spine approach:

• Does the practice or institute you are considering teach courses on the use of the laser at national spine meetings?
• Are they disseminating this information to the medical community to better society?
• Is this procedure they are proposing something other respected surgeons around the country and world have adopted?

More articles on MIS:
3-year outcomes published for SI-BONE's iFuse System
The best advice for entering the outpatient spine field
3 things to know about the new Pittsburgh Collaborative Research Education and Technology Enhancement in Surgery Center

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2019. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies here.

Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months