ZocdocAnswersDoes laser spinal surgery exist for spinal stenosis?

Question

Does laser spinal surgery exist for spinal stenosis?

My mom was recently diagnosed with spinal stenosis, so of course I'm extremely worried about her. A friend in the medical field mentioned something about using laser surgery to create more room in the spinal canal, but I can't find anything about this process online. Is this a real treatment?

Answer

Spinal stenosis is treated with a variety of methods. A this time, there are no widely available laser treatments done for spinal stenosis. That's not to say that they are not currently being investigated, but your mother will try many more therapies before arriving at the most aggressive ones. Spinal stenosis treatments can be divided into aggressive and conservative. Conservative treatments usually entail exercises (physical therapy) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. More aggressive measures include surgical removal of part of the spinal processes (known as a laminectomy) or the placement of intraspinus spacers which can give m ore room for the spinal processes to move. Only a qualified physician can tell which therapy is best for you mother. I suggest you have your mother meet with her primary care physician (either family doctor or internal medicine physician) who can examine her back and determine if her spinal stenosis is severe enough to go straight to more aggressive therapies such as surgery. Remember that in most patients, conservative therapy with exercises and anti-inflammatory medications are all that is need to help patients. Her doctor can then refer her to an orthopedic surgeon for further evaluation if necessary. Good luck.

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