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Laser Spine Surgery (Laser Facet Ablation)

I had my surgery and literally walked out of the hospital the next day. I owe my life to Dr. Biscup for giving me back mine.

Bill Dearman
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At a Glance

  • Laser facet ablation, sometimes called laser spine surgery, is a highly precise form of surgery that uses the extreme heat and energy of a laser to melt and vaporize nerve endings and tissue in or around the facet joint in the posterior spine.
  • The level of a surgeon’s skill and experience should determine when it is best to use the procedure.
  • Laser facet ablation treats Sprains and Strains, Facet Arthritis and Spinal Stenosis.


Laser spine surgery is a treatment for pain relief by eradicating nerves causing the pain. Such a removal of a small, painful part or destruction of its function is a common medical procedure known as ablation.

In laser facet ablation, the surgeon makes a small incision near the affected facet joint, the structure that connects one vertebra to another. The surgeon then inserts a thin fiber optic cable (a little smaller in diameter than a drinking straw) and delivers the laser to the affected area.

When used at low power, the laser does not have a high degree of tissue penetration. This allows the surgeon much control, pointing at only pain-causing tissue without damaging surrounding tissue and bone structures.

The surgeon uses fluoroscopy, or television x-ray, and/or direct visualization to ensure that he is targeting only the affected area.

The chief advantage of laser spine surgery is that it allows delicate surgery in a small space.

However, like any tool, a laser has some limitations. Patients should not be given, or have, unrealistic expectations just because it’s a laser. The tool is only as good as the hand of the surgeon using it.


Frequently Asked Questions

What type of laser is used during a laser facet ablation?
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