Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) is a set of modern spinal surgical methods capable of treating a wide array of spinal conditions. As their names suggest, MISS therapies stand in contrast to traditional spinal surgeries. Traditional procedures often involve considerable cutting of muscle and other tissues along the length of the spinal column. These incisions can be significant, and the overall surgical procedures relatively invasive. Factors such as these can make recovery time an issue for people who undergo traditional interventions.
To address these and other issues, surgeons perform MISS procedures through small incisions designed to do minimal damage to surrounding muscles and tissues. By focusing in on problem areas – and avoiding slicing into thick back muscle – surgeons efficiently treat a variety of conditions while allowing patients to recover and regain their physical abilities rapidly. Indeed, many MISS techniques are so mild that physicians perform them as outpatient procedures.
What Conditions Can MISS Treat?
MISS techniques enjoy success in treating a raft of mild and serious spinal diseases and injuries. These can include:
Herniated Disc – This painful condition occurs when one or more of the spinal disks tear along the outer boundary, allowing the interior of the disc to bulge outward. Pressure from these bulges often compresses nerves and tissues close to the disc, causing pain, nerve damage, and general loss of physical capacity.
Cervical Spinal Stenosis – Like other body parts, the spine can degenerate in a number of ways. Stenosis occurs when bone spurs grow around the spinal canal. As this progresses, the pressure from these spurs affects nearby nerves. This often causes painful and debilitating neurological symptoms.
Spondylolisthesis – This condition occurs when one vertebra moves or slides forward in relation to another vertebra. Physicians use 5 grades to indicate the severity of an instance of spondylolisthesis, Grade-1 being the least severe and Grade-5 the most.
These conditions represent just a small number of conditions treatable by MISS therapies.
MISS Treatments for Common Spinal Conditions
While physicians routinely use MISS to treat the following conditions, these also represent just a sample of spinal ailments curable with MISS techniques.
Lumbar fusions – Surgeons perform fusions to treat discomfort, pain, and loss of function. The procedure involves fusing together one or more vertebral bones.
Lumbar Discectomies – Spinal surgeons perform lumbar discectomies to relieve herniated disc pressure, repair tears, manipulate bone, and more. The three main methods used include endoscopic, tubular, and mini-open microdiscectomies.
Spinal Decompressions – Physicians use methods that include foraminotomies and laminectomies to relieve the narrowing of the spinal column caused by spinal stenosis.