We provide patients with quality minimally invasive surgical care.
Traditional open spine surgery poses certain risks due to the methods used to reach the part of the back or neck that requires attention.
An increasingly common alternative to open procedures is minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS). MISS involves the use of techniques designed to target the affected area of the spine without significant disruption to muscles and other tissues.
How Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery is Performed
With MISS, there isn’t the need to significantly pull or retract muscles to reach the affected area of the spine. A process called tubular retraction is used. It involves the placement of progressively larger tubes to gently create a space to perform the surgery. Instead of one long incision, several smaller incisions are made to allow room for the placement of instruments.
A special tube with a camera (endoscope) is used to allow the surgeon to view the surgical site. Any disc material or bone fragments that may need to removed are taken out through the tubes. Common minimally invasive spine surgeries include:
- Endoscopic/microendoscopic discectomy: Removal of part or all of a herniated spinal disc with minimally invasive surgical techniques.
- Extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF): Minimally invasive spinal fusion surgery performed through the side of the body.
- Lateral lumbar interbody fusion: A minimally invasive procedure used to correct issues due to scoliosis and other spinal abnormalities or deformities.
- Laminectomy/laminotomy: The minimally invasive removal of part or all of a bony structure that covers the spine (lamina).
Benefits of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Patients who undergo MISS often benefit from less blood loss during surgery, faster post-operative healing (since incisions are smaller), and less soft tissue damage. Some patients also experience less scarring and a better ability to actively participate in physical therapy sessions during recovery.
When to Consider Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Before any type of spine surgery is considered, patients are encouraged to try non-surgical pain management techniques. Being referred to a spine surgeon or orthopedist doesn’t automatically mean surgery is the next step if conservative treatments aren’t effective. In some cases, such treatments aren’t working because the true source of back or neck pain hasn’t been determined.
Increased Availability for Patients
Minimally invasive techniques have been used in common spine surgeries since the 1990s, primarily with decompression and fusion procedures. Today, MISS is more accessible then it was even a decade ago. It’s not right for every situation, but it may be worth considering for patients who:
- Are otherwise healthy without uncontrolled conditions like diabetes
- Don’t have multiple sources of back or neck pain
- Haven’t had previous failed spine surgeries
Many patients go home from the hospital within a few days. Some MISS procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis, depending on the issue that’s being corrected. The duration of recovery beyond that point will depend on the specific type of minimally invasive spine surgery performed. Some discomfort is to be expected, although it usually goes away as muscles become reconditioned with physical therapy exercises.