What Does Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Mean?
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MIS) is a general term used to describe a variety of surgical techniques which involve making smaller incisions and reducing the amount of tissue damage beneath the skin, thus reducing the amount of blood loss and decreasing the risk of infection.
In spinal surgery, a minimally invasive surgery procedure is accomplished with the aid of specially designed instruments which assist in visualization of the surgical field. Typically, this is done with tubular retractors which allow the surgeon to make a small incision while visualizing a larger area beneath the small incision.
Newer areas for minimally invasive procedure techniques include the fusion of two vertebrae together and expanding endoscopic procedures (meaning: the surgery is performed through little holes in the skin as opposed to a larger incision).
The field of minimally invasive spine surgery is growing rapidly and the overall trend is gearing towards more minimally invasive spinal techniques and new procedures. Spine surgeons who perform minimally invasive spine surgery should be fully trained in the correct use of these techniques.
Benefits of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
The potential benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery may include:
- Smaller incisions and scars after the operation
- Less damage to the surrounding tissues beneath the skin
- Less pain and decreased blood loss.
The potential outcomes of such surgical operations are the reduction of pain and morbidity associated with standard open surgery. At the moment there is insufficient data to show if minimally invasive spinal surgeries provide any short and long term benefit to patients when compared to traditional spine surgery.