Spine surgery can be a daunting thought. People often wonder if there are minimally invasive options. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is possible for the spine. But, it will not be as simple as a single band-aid. In fact, MIS is not ideal for every circumstance. And each case must be individually assessed to make the proper decision on the surgical procedure.
How is Minimally Invasive Surgery Performed?
An appropriate surgical strategy is necessary. Over the years, MIS options have evolved, and they continue to do so. Minimally invasive procedures are often done outpatient or have minimal hospital stays. It takes just a few small incisions, and the spinal cord and nerve roots can be decompressed. And these small incisions allow for fusions to be performed. Smaller incisions mean less tissue damage and quicker recovery time. Therefore, there will be less blood loss and minimal pain.
These MIS options use computer-assisted navigation. Then, spinal hardware is placed accurately through these small corridors. The trajectory is viewed on a large monitor. Surgeons can see the hardware digitally as it moves to the intended location. Furthermore, these same techniques can be used to approach from the side too. As a matter of fact, there is less muscle damage this way. Intervertebral discs are replaced with ‘cages.’ These cages decompress the nerves while the spine is being fused. The benefits of this approach include the following:
- Earlier mobilization
- Less postoperative pain
- Quicker recovery
A spinal endoscopy decompresses or fuses the spine. An incision of less than one centimeter is made. An endoscope (tiny camera) is then inserted. This tiny camera allows the physician to view what they are working on with a minimal incision. In fact, advancements in optics and tools allow this to be done with a patient awake! And cage designs have also improved. Intervertebral and interbody fusion are now also available through a small passage.
Am I a Candidate?
MIS options are not available for all patients. You need to consult with a spine center, and surgical options will be discussed. Then, the best course is advised.
Spinal disorders that may be treated using minimally invasive spine surgical techniques, such as:
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Herniated Disc
- Scoliosis, spinal deformities
- Spinal Stenosis
- Vertebral Compression Fracture (VCF)
- Spinal Infections
- Spinal Tumors