Spinal issues such as herniated discs affect all kinds of people including US Presidents, famous athletes, and even movie stars. On occasion, some problems are genetic while others can be the result of trauma such as a car accident. But over the years, the methods for fixing spinal issues have changed, causing some to ask, “Which is better?” Making the choice to have spinal surgery is an extremely important decision and should be taken seriously. There is a ton of information out there and we want to be part of the discussion to clear some things up and compare laser spine surgery vs surgery.  

Laser Spine Surgery vs Traditional Surgery

Main Differences between Laser and Traditional


Laser Spine Surgery


Traditional Open Spine Surgery


Small incision


Large incision


No muscle or bone damage


Risk of damaging muscles and bone is removed


No hardware needed


Hardware is needed to keep things in place


Less recovery time


Longer recovery time


Extremely small scar


Large incision scar


Procedure time: About 1 hour


Procedure time: About 2.5 hours

As you can see, there are quite a few factors to consider when thinking about which spinal surgery is best for you. Let’s continue to take a look and see why the differences are so vast. 

Laser Spine Surgery

Laser Spine Surgery Process

Sometimes known as MISS, laser spine surgery is a minimally invasive spine surgery that uses small incisions to treat the affected area. There are several significant benefits to utilizing smaller incisions versus larger, longer ones made to perform the procedure. For starters, there is less recovery time required for smaller incisions as the soft tissue surrounding the area is not disrupted as much, which can also mean less pain following the surgery. Second, there is a lessened chance of infection compared to larger incisions. Finally, a patient who opts for laser spine surgery is less likely to experience blood loss during the procedure.

After a small incision has been made, a guide is entered to separate the muscle and allow a clear pathway for the rest of the procedure. Then light amplification is used to accurately remove the damaged tissue that can cause chronic pain and discomfort.

In about one hour, the procedure is completed and the patient is left with a small incision (about half of an inch) site that is closed up with only one or two stitches. No hardware is needed and the patient can usually go home to begin healing within the same day.

Traditional Spine Surgery

Traditional Spinal Surgery 

Traditional surgery requires one extremely long incision, meaning there will be a longer healing time for the patient. Having a larger incision can make it more susceptible to infection. Beginning with one large incision down the spine, the site is opened up through several layers to reveal the spinal cord.

Next, the muscle has to be separated from the vertebrae so it can continue to be worked on. This step can cause some permanent damage to the muscles as it is extremely invasive. Through this method, nerve damage is also possible. Then a laminectomy is performed where parts of the vertebral bone have to be removed. Once the damaged tissue is eventually removed, a cage with bone graftings in it is put in place. Heavy hardware such as large screws and rods are used to keep everything together. Some bone grafting material may also be placed near the affected site to allow things to fuse together as it heals. Lastly, a temporary drain is placed near the site of the incision to allow the wound to drain as needed, and the incision is closed up.

The entire process is finished in about 2 and a half hours with a few additional hours needed for the patient to recover on-site.

Sum It Up

It is clear that comparing laser spine surgery vs traditional surgery is fairly large. With the latest advancements in technology, laser spine surgery just might be the way to go for you.

At Texas Spine Center, we understand that patients want to feel welcome and comfortable before and after their procedure. When searching for spine surgeons in Houston, consider Dr. Siddiqi at Texas Spine Center. Dr. Siddiqi knows laser spine surgery and has special training with minimally invasive techniques. Simply ask Dr. Siddiqi if you have any questions or concerns about laser spine surgery so that you can feel empowered to stand by your decision when the time comes. Whenever you need it, the staff at Texas Spine Center is ready to help patients find the right path for them to get them moved on to a faster recovery and improved quality of life.