Make Pain a Thing of the Past – laser spine surgery – Physician Partners of America

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The board-certified pain management specialists at Physician Partners of America now offer laser spine procedures for the most common chronic spine pain conditions. That allows you to seek pain relief close to home. It’s the latest alternative to opioid medication for back and neck pain.

Laser procedures are micro-invasive with an incision about the size of a grain of rice. The laser can be used to pinpoint and ablate pain-causing nerves. It’s precise, fast, effective, and spares your muscles the trauma of open-back surgery.

Here are a few frequently asked questions about laser spine and micro-invasive procedures.

Q: Does laser spine surgery use lasers?

A: Sometimes. The term “laser” is meant to convey the precision of the procedures. These minimally invasive techniques directly target the affected area while touching almost nothing else, acting with laser-like accuracy; but some procedures may still utilize lasers, especially on the soft tissues near the spine.

Q: Is there any recovery time?

A: There is some recovery time with laser spine surgery, but it is significantly shorter than traditional surgery. Most of the time you can go back to non-strenuous activity after only one or two weeks, and resume most strenuous activities after one month. That is far shorter than the sometimes six months some patients take to recover; but talk to your surgeon, as each individual may have different recovery times.

Q: How effective is laser spine surgery?

A: When performed by a skilled pain doctor, it is very effective, on par with open surgery. The techniques that are used continue to advance, with better approaches that offer better outcomes.

Q: Is laser back surgery covered by Medicare?

A: Yes! For most patients, Medicare covers some or all of your laser spine procedure. However, keep in mind that different plans may offer different payments. Contact us and we will be happy to provide you with an insurance benefits check to ensure that you are covered by Medicare or other insurance, or let you know how much it may be out of pocket.

Q: How do I know if I’m a candidate?

A: The best way to find out if you are a candidate for laser spine procedures is to contact us today for a consultation. We can talk to you about the available options – not just for spine surgery, but also for pain management – and see what is causing your pain and what treatment techniques are best for you.

If conservative treatment hasn’t worked for you, you may be a candidate for a laser spine procedure to treat your neck or back pain.


Laser procedures speed recovery for most patients

In its mission to combat the opioid crisis and follow best practices in medicine, Physician Partners of America is pleased to announce the widespread use of laser spine techniques.

PPOA pain management physicians are in the process of being trained in the use of the Holmium YAG laser to perform neck and back pain procedures. The laser is used to ablate pain-causing nerves, as well as tissue that is pressing on nerves.

“It’s better therapy, better efficacy, and the safety is unparalleled,” says Abraham Rivera, M.D., PPOA’s chief medical officer. “It’s a new set of skills that many physicians do not have.”

The company has invested in training and equipment for each of its pain management physicians.

Are laser procedures the best treatment for chronic pain?

The laser is the next step on the continuum of cutting-edge medicine, and Physician Partners of America has always focused on the latest developments in interventional pain management. That subspecialty of pain medicine focuses on treating pain at its source, rather than masking it with medication.

Interventional pain management encompasses a less-is-more approach:

  • Noninvasive techniques, such as injections and nerve blocks
  • Regenerative medicine, such as stem cell therapy and PRP

Patients who are ready for the next level of treatment can consider other approaches PPOA offers:

  • Minimally invasive surgical techniques, with incisions of less than one inch, and small instruments
  • Endoscopic procedures, which use a series of narrow, camera-enabled tubes through which the surgeon works

The laser can be used in any type of minimally invasive procedure.

What are laser spine procedures?

The laser procedures performed by PPOA pain management physicians require an incision barely wider than a needle.

The laser allows for precise targeting of nerves and tissue, quicker healing through muscle-sparing techniques, and a reduced chance of bleeding and infection. Patients walk out the same day and can get back to work or activities in days or weeks instead of months. It is a revolutionary instrument that PPOA uses to stay at the forefront of medical technology.

“It sets us apart from the competition,” says Dr. Rivera. “It’s not a procedure we make money on. That’s not the end result or purpose of it, but it’s something we believe gives patients much better results.”

Many patients choose PPOA for additional reasons: it accepts Medicare and most insurance, and has a long history of performing interventional techniques as an effective alternative to opioids. Services are available throughout Florida and in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Initial appointments can be made the same-day patients call and transportation is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tricare makes pain relief affordable for active duty and veterans

Military members living with neck and back pain can now get affordable treatment with their military medical insurance. Physician Partners of America Minimally Invasive Spine Group accepts Tricare, including Tricare Prime, for laser spine procedures. This includes treatment for active duty, reserves and retired military.

Our laser spine surgeon, Dr. James St. Louis, is a U.S. Army veteran and has been treating fellow service members for 30 years. The surgical founder of Laser Spine Institute, he is pleased to extend this groundbreaking outpatient surgical option to patients at Physician Partners of America in Florida and beyond.

“Laser surgery allows patients to return to their activities within days or weeks instead of months, as is the case with open surgery – and that is in their best interest,” says Dr. St. Louis.

Causes of military back injury

The physical stresses of combat and the rigors of training – carrying weapons and heavy packs, running, jumping, marching and parachuting – can cause neck, back and musculoskeletal pain. Trips and falls are other common culprits. Left untreated, these and other spinal problems can lead to limited civilian job prospects and disability.

According to, common back injuries associated with military service include:

  • Bulging and herniated discs
  • Compressed nerves
  • Intervertebral disc syndrome
  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
  • Cervical spine fracture
  • Misaligned vertebrae

Physician Partners of America can evaluate military patients for all of these conditions.

“I see a lot of herniated discs and compressed nerves in military patients,” says Dr. St. Louis. “Because they’re generally young and healthy, we can help them, in selected cases, without the need for spinal fusion.”

It also eliminates the need for opioid pain killers because it targets on the treatment area specifically without the side effects of oral medications.

What is laser spine surgery?

Minimally invasive laser spine procedures treat severe spine-related pain on an outpatient basis: no overnights in the hospital or weeks in bed recuperating. A small incision (less than one inch) and muscle-sparing surgical techniques are the key. Dilation tubes, about as wide as a magic marker, gently spread muscles instead of the cutting and tearing common with traditional open back surgery. The laser is used for ablations and removing tissue that presses on nerves.

Common procedures include laser facet ablation, laser discectomy, laminotomy and foraminotomy. These allow for decompression of nerves that exit the spinal canal.

The methods used in PPOA’s minimally invasive laser spine surgery​ allow for a fast recovery. Most patients are able to walk out of the surgery center the same day and resume activities in days or weeks, as opposed to months with traditional surgery. That – and the affordability that Tricare insurance offers – are a plus for military members.

“Military patients are the best patients,” says Dr. St. Louis. “They are motivated to get back to work. They’re generally healthy, have a good work ethic, and want to get back to a productive life.”