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In the spine, nerve compression and subsequent pain can be caused by a herniated disc, bone spurs, thickened ligaments, and other degenerative or traumatic problems. When a nerve root that is part of the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, this can cause “sciatica,” leading to pain, tingling, numbness, and/or weakness in the lower back, buttock, and leg.

Laser spine surgery can be utilized to decompress the nerve and relieve nerve dysfunction. This surgery is much less invasive than other types of traditional back surgery.

Types of back surgery

Depending on your specific physical needs, there are different types of spine surgery. Laser spine surgery is not for every back pathology or problem. After consultation and careful examination, Dr. Stieber will recommend a traditional (or open approach), minimally-invasive spine surgery, robotic spine surgery, or laser spine surgery.


During this surgery, a long incision would be made in the back, and the muscles and other tissue would be moved away to access and correct the affected area of the spine. The subsequent hospitalization and recovery period after this surgery is usually longer.

MISS (Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery)

During Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery, a unique tool is used, called a tubular retractor, to create a small channel from which to access the surgical site. Various specialized microsurgical tools are employed during the surgery to operate on the spine. MISS can lead to less pain and a faster recovery because it’s less invasive. You will be able to return to work in days to weeks.

Robotic Spine Surgery

During robotic spine surgery, the procedure technique begins with a small incision, then utilizes a cutting-edge robotic system. The robot’s computer system combines a CT scan of the patient’s anatomy with special x-rays taken in the operating room of the actual patient to tell the robot where the patient’s spine is located. Dr. Stieber can point to a precise location on the CT scan and the robot will aim for that site, processing what the navigation system sees in real time. Dr. Stieber will use the robotic guidance and navigation to place implants or do other spinal operations with precision. The procedure time and recovery time are shorter than the same procedure would be if done using the traditional method.


During laser back surgery, a laser is used to remove portions of tissue located around the spinal cord and nerves of the back. It is used for very specific conditions such as nerve compression around the spinal nerves or spinal cord. The recovery time can be as short as 7-10 days.

Side Effects and Drawbacks (Uncommon)

  • Potential damage to the surrounding tissue (nerves, bone, membrane and cartilage)
  • Infection
  • Bleeding and blood clots

Choosing the Right Surgeon

To perform laser spine surgery, a medical license is needed, but the doctor is not legally required to be a trained surgeon. Some anesthesiologists or other doctors without actual spine surgical training attempt to perform these procedures. This makes the importance of choosing the right surgeon, who is highly trained and expert, paramount.

A laser beam is an intense source of heat that, while focused, is still less precise than other surgical tools. This technology requires extreme expertise and control to avoid damaging the spinal cord and nerve roots.

Laser surgery can be inadequately understood and used by people who are not highly qualified for this type of precision procedure. In the hands of less practiced technicians, laser surgery can result in increased nerve damage when compared to traditional surgery techniques. When you’re looking for a doctor to perform this procedure, you will want a trained surgeon with experience and expertise who knows the technology and procedure extremely well.

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Dear Patients:

Our patients' health and safety is our number one priority. Our office continues to be open for all email, telephone, and online inquiries. You can call us at 646-916-3962 or contact us via email to schedule your virtual telemedicine or in-person visit. Our doctors will be holding regular office hours for virtual video consultations and follow-up visits that permit you to stay in the comfort of your own home, utilizing your computer, tablet, or mobile device.

Additionally, we will continue to see select patients in the office for consultation and follow-up visits, including preoperative and postoperative appointments. Our doctors continue to perform procedures in our private, free-standing surgery center that offers an array of outpatient surgical services to treat spinal issues such as acute back pain, disc herniations, sciatica, and pinched nerves in the back or neck. We are also able to offer clean and efficient on-site x-ray capabilities in our office.

Please know that we join our community in taking all advised precautions* to limit the spread of the Coronavirus and ensure the safety of patients and staff.

Call today to schedule a consultation and explore your options with the Spine Center at OrthoManhattan.

The following precautionary measures have been established to ensure the safest environment possible:

  • All patients are screened both prior to and on the day of their office appointment. Patients will not be permitted in the office and will be asked to reschedule their appointment if:
    • You or anyone in your household are experiencing flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, congestion, runny nose, or shortness of breath.
    • You have been in contact with anybody who has tested positive for coronavirus or have traveled (both domestically and internationally) within the last 14 days.
  • We have updated our patient and visitor policies:
    • Only a limited number of patients will be permitted on the office hour schedule.
    • No additional visitors or family members are allowed to accompany the patient during their office visit, unless the patient is in need of an aide or a translator
    • Infants, children, and adolescents are asked to stay home and will not be permitted to accompany the patient to their appointment.

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