The Laser Spine Institute, a startup in many large U.S. cities, folded in March of last year declaring bankruptcy, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

As a neurosurgeon who taught laser neurosurgery for several years, I can say first-hand that the laser has no place in HNP surgery, Often a spine surgeon needs to tease a fragment of disc from beneath the dura or a nerve root with a “blunt nerve hook”. A laser beam can’t go around corners and is useless in that case. Visible loose disc fragments can be removed by a simple cup forceps.

A laser beam dissolves tissue be “burning” it away. That can be “touchless”, but when I tried it on disc cartilage, the heat generated caused a severe reaction in the remaining disc and adjacent bone. That patient woke up with screaming pain that I have never seen before or since. So not only was use of a laser not needed, it was harmful. I am not surprised at the demise of laser spine surgery.

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