Laser Endoscopic Spine Surgery (LESS)

The spine – it is the support system for the body. It holds us upright and supplies nerve impulses to our entire body. We can run, jump, dance, walk and move thanks to the bones, ligaments, cartilage, muscles, spinal cord and nerves that reside in our spine. When we sustain an injury to the spine such as lumbar disc herniations, sciatica, annular tears, and radiculopathy, Laser Endoscopic Spine Surgery (LESS) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that effectively treats these conditions. This type of surgery is done through a small incision in the back using microscopic cameras and instruments. Minimally invasive spine surgery helps in reducing infection, tissue trauma, bleeding and also improves the healing process of the body. Pain and recovery time are shortened considerably maintaining better health and wellness in the long run.

So, if you are looking for successful & secure minimally invasive spine surgery, contact our team of experienced doctors at Minimally Invasive Spine Centers of Excellence.

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Questions About LESS?

LESS is a state-of-the-art minimally invasive procedure that effectively treats disc herniations, radiculopathy and sciatica. The procedure is done without general anesthesia, and instead uses local anesthesia with conscious sedation, which causes a patient to be in a dream-like state. Dr. Kim starts from the side of the back and enters the spinal canal through a natural opening of the spine, called the neuroforamen. A laser and a radiofrequency probe are directed through the endoscope to vaporize disc fragments, which avoids unnecessary injury to the multifidus muscle. After the procedure, the small incision is covered with bandaids. LESS is an outpatient procedure and most patients are walking within 1 hour after surgery.

Dr. Kim has been performing LESS for almost 15 years.

After LESS, nearly all of Dr. Kim’s patients have experienced significant improvement in pain level and overall function lasting from the pre-operative period to at least 1 year after surgery. In a recent study of 86 LESS patients, the median hospital stay was 0 days, none of the patients experienced any intraoperative complications, none of the patients experienced a 90-day readmission, and the vast majority of patients’ walking disability and employment disability significantly approved.

The amount of pain varies by your individual condition and your tolerance to pain medications. Laser endoscopic spine surgery tends to cause much less post-operative pain, but you may still need to take prescription pain medications for a few days after the surgery.

Yes! Dr. Kim would recommend changing positions frequently throughout the day to help control pain, prevent blood clots and improve circulation. It would be helpful to sit for a while, lie down for a while, and then take short walks periodically throughout the day. However, you should be careful of slippery surfaces and steps. Sexual activity may be resumed 1-2 weeks post-operatively as tolerated.

Physical therapy would most likely start 2 weeks after surgery. The goal would be to develop a long-term, home exercise program that can be continued on a consistent basis. This program would focus on core strengthening, non-impact aerobic exercise, coordination, and overall conditioning.

This would depend on your recovery progress. Your pain would need to be managed so that you no longer needed any pain medication (for example, narcotic medications such as Vicodin or Percocet). These medications can affect your ability to drive. Generally, many patients can drive after a few days, but you would need to consult Dr. Kim regarding your specific situation.

If you have a relatively sedentary job, you would be able to return to work in about 1-2 weeks. If you have a more physical job, check with Dr. Kim.

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