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I get that question a lot. When I hear it I am struck by how effective marketing can be even when 25 years of experience has shown that lasers have no real value or ability to improve spinal surgery efficiency or patient outcomes.  “No.” I continue, “I trained in laser surgery. I find that it has almost zero usefulness in your spine surgery and in fact can be harmful.” I have seen patients with irreparable nerve injuries as a result of the use of lasers on or two close to their nerves.

Lasers have always connotated cutting edge and precision.  It is only natural that introducing this into surgery could be thought of by the public as something that could benefit and enhance procedures. In fact, lasers in certain areas of surgery have been very helpful.  For the vast majority of all spine surgeries, however, the laser has no purpose or role. The only real value that it does have to the spine surgeon is as a marketing tool. I have no problem with marketing itself. This website is a marketing tool. That said, the basis of the doctor patient relationship is one of trust and I do not believe that, when the goal is to establish trusting relationship with a patient, that it is right or proper to entice patients into that relationship with flowery bamboozlement about lasers being cutting edge technology. Although laser technology is undoubtedly cool, it has no advantage over a scalpel and electrocautery and there is no laser made for use in the human body that cuts bone, a requirement in most spine surgeries to one extent or another. I have attended spine conferences all over the world for the past 25 years and I have never heard a lectures regarding the clinical benefit of spinal surgery. I know of no University Medical training hospital in the U.S. or aboard that trains surgeons to use lasers in spine surgery. Over 95% of all minimally invasive spinal surgeries are performed without lasers. One study published in 2016 found that not only were lasers significantly less effective than minimally invasive microdiscectomy, but that they also resulted in a near doubling of the need for a subsequent surgery.

I trained with lasers in the 1990’s. It was clear to both myself and my mentors that despite the “coolness” of saying I got to use a “laser” in surgery today, it was slow and gave no advantage of safety or precision over what we were already using. I have spoken to friends and colleagues who advertise that they use lasers. They readily admit they they cut the skin with the laser then proceed with the operation without a laser and that they use it only for marketing purposes.

Now many spine surgeons that advertise lasers in their practice are fine surgeons with good skills and training and I do not intend to question their skills or abilities but be careful if you find yourself seduced by marketing terms such as cutting edge technology and lasers.

May 2011 Article about laser spine surgery on Bloomberg News- https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-05-12/patients-sue-back-surgery-company-laser-spine

 

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Texas Spine Consultants Addison 

Dr. Carmody - Texas Spine Consultants

17051 Dallas Parkway
Suite 400
Addison, Texas 75001
214-771-9150 Tel

Dr. Carmody - Texas Spine Consultants
17051 Dallas Pkwy #400, Addison, TX 75001, USA

17051 Dallas Parkway
Suite 400
Addison, Texas 75001
214-771-9150 Tel

Direction

Legacy Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

Dr. Carmody- Legacy Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

6501 Preston Road
Suite 100
Plano, Texas 75024
214-771-9150 Tel

Dr. Carmody- Legacy Orthopedics & Sports Medicine
6501 Preston Rd #100, Plano, TX 75024, USA

6501 Preston Road
Suite 100
Plano, Texas 75024
214-771-9150 Tel

Direction

Addison:
Texas Spine Consultants
17051 Dallas Parkway
Suite 400
Addison, Texas 75001
214-771-9150 Tel

Addison Hours:
Mon. 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Wed. 8:00pm – 5:00pm
Fri.     1:00pm – 5:00pm

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Parking: Use the open parking lot at the back of the building or FREE valet parking is available.

Plano:
Legacy Orthopedics & Sports Medicine
6501 Preston Road
Suite 100
Plano, Texas 75024
214-771-9150 Tel

Plano Hours:
Mon.  8:00am- 12:00pm
Fri.     8:00am- 12:00pm