Minimally invasive surgical procedures often result in faster recovery periods and fewer complications. While this is welcome news if you’re undergoing such a procedure, there are common questions you’re likely to want answered for your own peace of mind before undergoing minimally invasive surgery.
Q: How long is the hospital stay?
A: Hospital stays for minimally invasive procedures can range from half a day to a few days, depending on the type of spine surgery involved. With an endoscopic discectomy (a minimally invasive alternative to a lumbar discectomy), for instance, patients often go home the same day.
Q: How long is the recovery period?
A: There is no standard time for recovery, although some patients fully recover to the point of returning to previous activities about a month or so after their procedure. However, recovery also depends on how well post-procedure instructions are followed and whether or not a patient has underlying conditions, like diabetes, that can slow the healing process.
Q: Is there any pain after surgery?
A: Even with minimally invasive surgery, there may be some pain or discomfort immediately following the procedure, although this is often minimized with medication. However, patients who have minimally invasive procedures typically experience fewer post-surgical issues.
Q: Will there be a need to wear a brace?
A: Minimally invasive spine procedures preserve muscle function, so bracing is rarely necessary. If a brace is recommended, it’s often more for comfort than function.
Q: Is physical therapy still necessary after surgery?
A: Having a minimally invasive procedure doesn’t negate the benefits of PT as part of the recovery process. In fact, PT sessions can further speed up the healing and recovery process since sessions are highly individualized.
Q: Does ‘minimally invasive’ mean that lasers are used?
A: Lasers are just one component of minimally invasive procedures today. Surgical procedures are also made less invasive with the use of computer-aided navigation systems, endoscopes, operating microscopes, and incisions from different angles or locations.
Q: Does insurance cover minimally invasive procedures?
A: Reduced recovery rates are an excellent incentive for insurance companies to cover such procedures. Consequently, most major providers cover minimally invasive procedures.If you have more questions you’d like answered or you are interested in a second opinion, call The Spine Institute Center at (310) 828-7757. Our team of board-certified spine surgeons in Los Angeles can diagnose the root of your pain and help you choose the pain-relief solution right for you.