Minimally invasive spinal surgery is an operative procedure that is characterized by the use of a small incision and a laparoscopic device. The laparoscope is placed into the incision and allows the physician to view the operative site and insert surgical tools that are used to perform the repair. Indications for minimally invasive spinal surgery include trauma, deformities, infection, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs and tumors.
Minimally Invasive Surgery Post-Trauma
A person who has endured an injury to the spinal column may be a candidate for minimally invasive surgery. The presence of the following criteria may indicate surgical intervention:
• The patient has failed to respond to conservative treatment.
• The injury can be plainly viewed on an x-ray, CT or MRI.
• The affected area is small enough to manage with a laparoscope.
Patients who undergo minimally invasive procedures generally experience less surgical site trauma and a faster recovery period. Unlike a traditional or open surgery, there is less injury inflicted to the surrounding muscles and tissues because the incision is smaller and there is no need for using spreaders in order to reach the internal site. The risk of infection is lower because of the decreased exposure of tissues and shorter surgical time. Most people who opt for minimally invasive surgery experience less postoperative pain.
Types of Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery
One of the most commonly performed procedures is spinal fusion surgery. The operation is performed to add stability to the vertebral column after trauma to the area has resulted in a damaged vertebra that needs to be completely or partially resected, or removed. The recovery time is faster than what is experienced after an open procedure, and the need for narcotic pain relievers in the post-op period is greatly reduced.
A microdiscectomy is an operation that involves removing a small portion of a damaged disc that is causing radiculopathy, or nerve pain. This type of surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis, and many patients have no restrictions once they are released from the hospital or surgery center.
To learn more about minimally invasive spinal surgeries or to schedule an in-person consultation with a board-certified spine surgeon, reach out to The Spine Institute in Santa Monica at (310) 828-7757 today.