LESS is a state-of-the-art minimally invasive procedure that effectively treats lumbar disc herniations, annular tears, radiculopathy and sciatica.
Previously healthy and active patients that have been diagnosed with a lumbar herniated disc or annular tear causing sciatica or radiculopathy.
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 a regular bandaid. LESS is an outpatient procedure and most patients are walking within 1 hour after surgery.

  • Same-day procedure, which means that patients go home after the surgery instead of staying in the hospital
  • 1 cm covered with a regular bandaid
  • Smaller scars
  • Less muscle and tissue damage
  • Decreased blood loss
  • Reduced post-operative infection rate
  • Less post-operative pain
  • Faster recovery time
  • Quicker return to daily activities
Dr. Kim has performed hundreds of LESS cases in nearly 15 years. After LESS, most patients have significant improvement in pain level and overall function. In a recent study on laser endoscopic spine surgery, all of the patients went home the same day, none of the patients experienced intraoperative complications, none of the patients experienced a 90-day readmission, and the majority of patients’ walking disability and employment disability significantly approved.
The amount of pain varies by the extent of the surgery, 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! You should positions throughout the day to help control pain, prevent blood clots and improve circulation. It is helpful to sit for a while, lie down for a while, and then take short walks periodically throughout the day. The single most important thing you can do to regain your strength and speed your recovery is to walk. However, use your pain/discomfort as a guide for most activities. You should be careful around slippery surfaces and steps because your muscles are weaker after spine surgery and may be more susceptible to falls.
This would depend on your recovery progress. Your pain would need to be managed so that you no longer need 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 1-2 weeks, but you would need to consult Dr. Kim regarding your specific situation.
If you have a relatively sedentary job, you can resume working when can comfortably sit, which is normally around 1-2 weeks after surgery. If your job is physically demanding, you should check with Dr. Kim, but most patients are able to return to manual labor in about 4 weeks.
At 3-4 weeks, you can begin chipping and putting. If chipping and putting are not painful, you may move to the driving range. Start with short-irons, move to mid-irons and then to long-irons and clubs, as long as you are not experiencing pain at each level. Avoid carrying clubs for 6 weeks.

You may start a pool exercise program when your incision has completely healed, which is usually 4 weeks after surgery.

Contact Sports
You can start participating in contact sports around 4-5 weeks postoperatively as tolerated.

For a free initial assessment, email info@mis-coe.org or call (619) 229-5398.