dr. joseph laser spine surgeon

Laser Spine Surgery vs. Minimally Invasive

The Importance of Understanding The Differences of Laser Spine Surgery vs. Minimally Invasive

Spine Surgery Technique vs Spine Surgery Tool

There are numerous minimally invasive spine procedures available for patients today. Minimally invasive surgical techniques utilize specialized instruments, which allow a surgical procedure to be done through smaller incisions with much less tissue disruption.

With all of the marketing buzz about laser spine surgery, it is important to understand the difference between the laser as a tool for minimally invasive surgery vs. many new advances in technology in the form of tools, techniques and minimally invasive spine procedures.

Minimally invasive spine surgery more often does not involve the use of a laser. It is important to understand that a laser is just a cutting tool that may sometimes be used in place of a scalpel to cut through soft tissues, such as discs and ligaments.

While lasers can be effective for some procedures, they aren’t necessary to achieve successful results and in many cases could be harmful. Most people consider laser surgery to be the most up-to-date, top-of-the-line surgery available, but in many cases, spine surgery is more effective when the surgeon uses minimally invasive techniques with a scalpel, rather than a laser.

The fact is that most spine surgeons do not use or recommend the use of lasers for spine surgery because there are no clear benefits and there are other well-established and documented studies proving the effectiveness of more modern and established spine surgery techniques.

Dramatic Advances In Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS)

FDA Approved Medical Device for Spinal Fusion

Based in Dallas, Texas, Osseus Fusion Systems is a medical device manufacturer that is focused on the development of new medical products and treatments that are minimally invasive. Osseus offers its Aries lumbar interbody fusion devices in a range of sizes and lordotic angles. Within the medical industry, additive manufacturing is increasingly enabling patient-specific solutions—for implants, surgical guides and more.



Techniques of MISS have developed rapidly in the past few decades. The spectrum of MISS now includes spinal degenerative diseases, spinal trauma, spinal deformity and spinal tumors. Surgical materials, nerve monitoring, and computer-aided navigation have improved significantly. With these techniques, the risks, recovery time, and surgical complications have significantly decreased.

Which Surgical Tool Will Offer Precision?

With the intricacy of the human spine, laser spine surgery may not be the best procedure but could also be an extremely harmful procedure in many cases.

Lasers do not have the ability to maneuver around corners to reach the appropriate areas required in most spinal surgeries. A laser is a straight beam of light, while a skilled surgeon can use the scalpel and other tools to achieve great precision and maneuverability for a successful outcome. Lasers cut the soft tissue using heat, which can be transferred to the structures surrounding the area being worked on. This can lead to nerve damage, which can cause incontinence and loss of function.

A laser is another tool a surgeon will use in the operating room. It is the assumption of most lay people that a laser equals precision.  That assumption can be a very dangerous one.

A skilled surgeon, with a scalpel, is just as precise, or more, as a laser without the risk of damage from heat. The majority of clinical studies in well-respected peer reviewed journals call into question the efficacy of lasers regarding spine surgery.

Choose Your Spine Surgeon Not the Tool 

The most important decision you will make when preparing for spine surgery, or any spine treatment is choosing a well-respected and exceptionally trained surgeon.

What to Look for in a Spine Surgeon

It is important for patients to be as involved as possible in their own medical care. This includes the choice of doctors. Some managed care programs leave little room for choice, but if you are able to choose your physician, here are some guidelines on what to look for in a spine specialist:

  • Make sure the spine surgeon is board certified (or board eligible) and fellowship trained in spine.
    This means that in addition to the usual surgical residency requirements, he or she has completed a fellowship program in spine that included at least one additional year of training specific to spine surgery.
  • Choose a spine surgeon who devotes at least 50% of his or her practice to the treatment of spinal conditionsA physician who sees mostly spine patients will be more up-to-date on newer technologies and techniques than a physician who only sees spine patients occasionally.
  • In addition to the physician’s credentials, make sure the physician you choose is someone you feel comfortable with.After all, finding a physician you can trust is almost as important as his or her experience. Good communication is essential in a doctor/patient relationship.
  • Talk to the physician about his or her experience with the latest techniques and technologies in spine surgery.

Kyphoplasty Minimally Invasive Procedure for Compression Fractures

Kyphoplasty has transformed the way we are able to take care of patients with compression fractures. In this segment, we will review what you can expect and the benefits of this minimally invasive spine procedure. 

Kyphoplasty may be recommended for damaged vertebrae or certain spinal fractures. In most cases, a weakening of the bones (osteoporosis) has caused the vertebrae to compress or collapse, causing pain or a hunched posture.

The procedure may be performed as an outpatient in 30 minutes or less. The relief from pain may be immediate and patients may resume normal activities immediately.

Kyphoplasty uses a small balloon that gently lifts bone fragments into their correct position.  The balloon is inflated to create a space that the surgeon later fills with a special bone cement. The bone cement creates an internal cast that holds the vertebra in place. This extra feature allows kyphoplasty to help restore vertebral height, and thus, help reduce spinal deformity.  It also allows a thicker cement to be used which has less risk of leaking out and causing complications.

It is important to accurately diagnose vertebral compression fractures, as there are a number of potential adverse effects if a diagnosis is missed and there is no treatment. In general, vertebral fractures are associated with both increased morbidity which includes continued pain, decreased physical function, deformity, and potentially social isolation, all of which negatively impact the individual’s overall quality of and enjoyment of life. Mortality is also associated with vertebral fractures, as women diagnosed with a compression fracture of the spine have a 15% higher mortality rate than those who do not experience fractures.

FDA Approved Medical Device for Spinal Fusion

FDA Clears New Surgeon Inspired 3D Printing Device for Lumbar Fusion

Dr. Samuel Joseph, Jr. worked alongside medical device firm Osseus Fusion Systems to develop the newly FDA approved 3D printed Aries titanium spinal implants. The approval marks one of the largest FDA clearances for a family of 3D printed spinal devices of that kind.

Partnering with Pioneers in Spine Medicine

By partnering with pioneers in the medical industry such as Osseus, Dr. Joseph can offer his expertise as an exceptionally trained spine surgeon to help develop new products and procedures. Combining cutting-edge research with new technology Joseph Spine may offer spine patients new hope for a pain-free life.

Surgeon Inspired Spinal Implants

“As a surgeon, it’s very exciting to participate in the device development process and see your ideas brought to life so quickly,” commented Dr. Joseph, founder of Joseph Spine. “Using 3D printing, we were able to go from design to prototype, to finished product much faster than with traditional manufacturing—which means patients get access to more advanced treatments sooner, too.”

“Osseus is unique in our ability to bring surgeon-inspired implants to market quicker than any competitor, and our focus on R&D delivers unparalleled performance and quality to our surgeons and patients,” said Eric Hansen, Co-Founder, and CEO of Osseus. Osseus’ newly approved Aries family of lumbar interbody fusion devices is, the company says, one of the most comprehensive groups of 3D printed devices in the spinal and orthopedic industries. The family, comprising of Aries-TS, Aries-TC, Aries-A, Aries-L and Aries-O offer implant solutions for lateral (LLIF), anterior (ALIF), straight and curved transforaminal (TLIF) and oblique (OLIF) procedures.

Aries Titanium Spinal Implants

The 3D printed devices are constructed from a highly porous titanium metal which has been optimized for bone integration and fusion. The creation of the implants has been enabled largely by Osseus’ proprietary 3D printing platform, PL3XUS. Interestingly, the company says its titanium implants are some of the most porous spinal implants out there, with porosity rates of 80% or higher.


The 3D printed medical devices also integrate a proprietary mesh lattice which acts to reduce stiffness and to maximize bone graft packability. In other words, the mesh lattice structure is specifically designed to encourage bone cell fixation and proliferation, ultimately resulting in faster recovery times after implantation.

The recent FDA clearance for its medical device family marks Osseus’ fourth FDA 510(k) clearance.

About Joseph Spine

Joseph Spine is an advanced center for spine, scoliosis and minimally invasive surgery. Founded by Dr. Samuel A. Joseph, a fellowship trained, board certified orthopedic surgeon. His practice includes the specialized, conservative, and surgical care of patients. Treatment includes therapeutic injections, disc replacement surgery, minimally invasive techniques, and complex reconstruction of adult and pediatric spinal disorders. Dr. Joseph is also among a select group of surgeons to offer cutting-edge regenerative injection therapy (Stem Cell Therapy).

About Osseus Fusion Systems

Osseus is a medical device firm focused on unique, novel and new technology products, including: the Black Diamond Pedicle Screw System (PSS) – a trailblazing fixation system technology, White Pearl Preferred Angle Anterior Cervical Plate (ACP) – a cervical spine fixation device, and Red Ruby Anchored Cervical Interbody (ACI) – a revisable cervical Interbody system.

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Symptoms and Treatments

Types of Structural Scoliosis

There are several types of structural scoliosis. In this video, Dr. Joseph will discuss the most common type of scoliosis, review symptoms and outline treatment options available for patients.

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis accounts for about 8 in 10 cases of scoliosis. This type of scoliosis typically presents during adolescence, but it can also start earlier in childhood or infancy. What causes idiopathic scoliosis is currently unknown. Researchers discovered a gene that is believed to be associated with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis only a few years ago.

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is an abnormal C-shaped or S-shaped curvature of the spine. The curvature of the spine is measured by the Cobb angle. A Cobb angle greater than 15° is considered scoliosis.

Symptoms of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

Symptoms include back pain, unequal leg lengths, uneven hips, uneven shoulders (one shoulder appears higher than the other), abnormal gait, as well as breathing difficulties when the rib cage puts pressure on the lungs. When left untreated, the deformity might progress significantly. For milder cases, your doctor may recommend nonsurgical treatment such as bracing. Braces are usually worn for several hours daily. This can be effective if the child is still growing and has a Cobb angle between 25° and 45°.
In progressive cases, or when the Cobb angle is greater than 45°, your doctor may recommend surgery to straighten and fixate the spine, by placing implants such as screws, rods, hooks, and wires in and along the spine.

Surgery treats but does not cure scoliosis. It corrects the abnormal curvature and prevents further progression of the disease.

Surgical treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis

Surgical treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis requires planning and precision. Each scoliotic curvature has unique challenges, and often the patient’s vertebrae are deformed, twisted and abnormally small, which makes for a challenging surgery. Mazor’s core technology allows surgeons to plan ahead before entering the operating room; Mazor Robotics advanced 3D planning software is used before surgery to create the procedure for each patient’s condition. During the operation, the physician does the actual work; Mazor X guides the surgeon’s tools according to the predetermined blueprint to place the implants.

About Joseph Spine

Joseph Spine is an advanced center for spine, scoliosis and minimally invasive spine surgery. Founded by Dr. Samuel A. Joseph, a fellowship trained, board-certified orthopedic surgeon. His practice includes the specialized, conservative, and surgical care of patients. Treatment includes therapeutic injections, disc replacement surgery, minimally invasive techniques, and complex reconstruction of adult and pediatric spinal disorders. Dr. Joseph is also among a select group of surgeons to offer cutting-edge regenerative injection (stem cell) therapy.

New Generation, Patient-Focused Treatment of Spinal Conditions Is the Focus of Newly Opened Joseph Spine Center

Tampa, FL – March 2, 2017 – Joseph Spine, recently opened it doors in December of 2016, with spine centers in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Safety Harbor Florida.

Joseph Spine’s patient-focused spine care program operates under Dr. Samuel A. Joseph, Jr., who is committed to finding the best treatment approach for each patient.

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