A breakthrough laser procedure can help patients with herniated disks find more relief than those who have traditional back surgery, a top pain expert says.
Herniated disks, a degeneration of cushiony tissue between spinal bones, can cause severe pain and limb numbness. It is a common problem that often comes with aging.
Traditionally, open back surgery was performed to remove the disk. However, minimally invasive procedures have been gaining in popularity, says Sukdeb Datta, M.D., medical director of the Datta Endoscope Back Surgery and Pain Center, which operates 10 offices in New York and New Jersey.
Minimally invasive procedures are superior to back surgery for several reasons, Dr. Datta told Newsmax Health.
They are less painful, require less recuperation time, and are less likely to disturb nerves in the foramina, the canals that hold the nerves in the spinal column.
Dr. Datta performs spinal surgery using an endoscope, a very thin fiber-optic camera that is inserted through a small “keyhole” incision.
First, Dr. Datta uses tiny specialized instruments to carefully sculpt the disc, removing damaged disc jelly, but leaving healthy disc tissue in place.
Then, in the variation he has developed, which he calls the "DiscSculpt Technique,” he uses the laser or a radiofrequency probe to restore the natural firmness of the problematic disk.
Unlike traditional back surgery and minimally invasive procedures, he does not remove all of the disk.
“It is just being recognized how important it is to preserve normal tissue,” Dr. Datta said. “This is the future of spine surgery.”
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