Lase™ Minimally Invasive Discectomy

LASE xray showing needle insertion
LASE disectomy devices
LASE tip for sculpting spinal discs
Illustration of LASE probe insertion
Phtotgraph of LASE proceedure showing minimal invasiveness

The Lase™ procedure is performed using a small needle and a catheter with a laser probe. Using low dose x-ray, the catheter is placed inside the broken disc.

Once the probe is inserted, the laser vaporizes the broken parts of the disc. The broken parts are then washed away.

What is a Minimally Invasive Lumbar Discectomy?

Discectomies were first described by Mixter and Barr in 1934 (see footnote 1) and are effective in relieving leg pain in up to 90% of cases. Minimally invasive discectomy surgery is new and revolutionary. A variety of techniques have been introduced since the 1970’s. The use of lasers to remove broken parts of a disc has dramatically enhanced the success of the procedure. In select patients, a broken disc can now be removed without any incision. This new procedure can be done without hospitalization.

What are the Benefits of Minimally Invasive Discectomy?

  • Minimally-invasive
  • Reduced muscle injury
  • More effective for contained discs and bulges than surgery
  • Shorter surgery times
  • No incisions or scar
  • Less pain
  • >75% success rate
  • Shorter recovery and faster return to work and routine life-style
  • FDA cleared
  • Doesn’t burn bridges - subsequent surgery is still an option.

Success Rates for Various Disc Conditions


Success Rate

Best Therapy
Open Surgery LASE
Sequestered or Extruded 90% Not Indicated surgery
Prolapsed 79% 80% LASE
Bulging 60% 80% LASE

See Footnote 2

Title: Multicenter study of Percutaneous Endoscopic Discectomy (lumbar, cervical and thoracic). See Footnote 3

Materials and Methods: Forty spinal surgeons at 19 centers of minimally invasive spinal surgery around the world were contacted, and the statistics for 26,860 operations were analyzed.

Results: The incidence of serious surgical complication was less than 1% in each individual series. The rate of recorded re-operation was less than 1%. Patient satisfaction was over 90%.

Conclusion: Percutaneous endoscopic discectomy is a good alternative to open surgery for disc disease.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Is minimally invasive surgery for everyone?

A. No. Minimally invasive surgery can not address all spinal problems. You are ultimately responsible for all of your health care decisions.


1 Mixter WJ and Barr JS. Rupture of the Intervertebral Disc With Involvement of the Spinal Canal. NEJM 211:210-215 (1934).

2 Jonsson and Stromqvist, J. Spinal Disorders, Vol. 9 pp 32-38, 1996

3 Chiu, JC, et al. Multicenter study of Percutaneous Endoscopic Discectomy, The Journal of Minimally Invasive Spinal Technique December 2001

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Last modified: 07/27/08