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LASER BEAM BEING USED FOR SPINAL DISC SURGERY

 LASER BEAM BEING USED FOR SPINAL DISC SURGERY
 NEW YORK, Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today


by Dr. Sherwood Jacobson, clinical professor of neurosurgery at the New York University School of Medicine:
 Employing a laser beam in spinal disc surgery is the latest technique available for back sufferers scheduled for such an operation.
 It is one of a number of surgical procedures that today enable a doctor to select the approach most suitable for a specific condition and one of three techniques that require local rather than general anesthesia. The other two are the tube rongeur procedure and the automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy. Local anesthesia is preferable to general anesthesia because the after-effects are less trying for the patient.
 The operations requiring general anesthesia are the traditional back surgery and the microdiscectomy.
 "The evolution of back surgery has speeded rapidly in recent years," Dr. Sherwood Jacobson, a neurosurgeon specializing in back problems, said.
 Jacobson, who is clinical professor of neurosurgery at the New York University School of Medicine, and affiliated with a number of major hospitals in Manhattan, said using the laser beam permits the surgeon to work closer to the nerve to remove more than before of the tissue of the damaged disc. By doing this the chance for success is increased.
 The laser beam hasn't been employed extensively enough yet to develop a body of statistics but Jacobson estimated that the success rate will be about 90 percent.
 The technique works this way: The laser beam, serving as a removal device, is employed in conjunction with an instrument called an endoscope, a rod about 1/10th-inch in diameter that holds fiber optics that carry light. The reflected light enables a surgeon to retrieve an image on a magnified color TV screen. This visual help gives the surgeon greater control. The laster and the endoscope are placed in a tube only about 3/16ths of an inch in diameter that is inserted into the back.
 The tube rongeur procedure involves the use of an angled, thin-nose plier type of instrument, called the rongeur, that, when placed in the tube with the endoscope, pulls out tissue of the degenerated herniated disc. Employed first in Europe, the tube rongeur procedure only now is being used in this country.
 The percutaneous lumbar discectomy removes the tissue causing the problem from the herniated disc by suction.
 Each of the three approaches takes only about 45 minutes, requires only an overnight stay in a hospital, and permits the patient to return to a normal life in about a week. All leave only a small and faint scar.
 The microdiscectomy also calls for a small incision and the removal of tissue with a long, thin instrument. However, since the instrument may have to be employed more than once, the operation and the stay in the hospital are longer and a general anesthesia is used.
 The traditional back surgery is required for certain conditions that don't promise to respond to the other procedures or when a spinal fusion is necessary.
 Jacobson pointed out that not every disc problem lends itself to all procedures. "But today, guided by a surgeon, a patient has the widest choice ever," he said.
 -0- 11/25/91
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Members of the media wanting to obtain more information about advances in spinal disc surgery, can contact Jacobson directly by phone at 212-473-7170, by fax at 212-727-3411, or by writing to him at 36 Seventh Ave., Suite 520, New York, N.Y., 10011. To make arrangements for an interview, call the contact below./
 /CONTACT: Gene Boyo of Gene Boyo Communications, 212-949-6288, or fax, 212-697-9008/ CO: ST: New York IN: HEA SU:


KD-CK -- NY069 -- 7011 11/25/91 16:22 EST
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Date:Nov 25, 1991
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