Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) is an increasingly popular alternative to traditional open surgery. From shorter recovery times to less damage to nearby muscles, there are many benefits associated with minimally invasive back surgery. Several factors will ultimately determine if it’s the right option for you.
Advantages of Minimally Invasive Surgery
Open surgery requires larger incisions to directly access the affected part of the spine, which often means moving muscle that’s in the way. As the name implies, minimally invasive spine surgery means as little cutting as possible, with advantages including:
- Less bleeding during surgery
- Shorter hospital stays
- Less post-surgery pain
Preferred Candidates for MISS
Before any type of surgery is discussed, non-surgical remedies such as physical therapy must be attempted first. Minimally invasive spine surgery is usually recommended when damage is relegated to a specific area of the spine affected by nerve-root pressure or structural issues. Conditions sometimes treated with MISS include:
- Disc herniation
- Lumbar stenosis
- Sciatic nerve pain
- Cervical stenosis
How Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Works
MISS involves several small incisions usually 1-2 inches in length. A tube with a camera is inserted through one cut to allow the surgeon to view the affected area on a monitor in the operating room. Surgical tools will be fed through other incisions as necessary. Any tissue, bone spurs, or disc materials will also be removed through one of the small cuts.
More Minimally Invasive Options
Newer techniques allow for a “minimally invasive” approach to traditional fusion surgery. In such a procedure, relatively small surgical incisions are made and specially designed screw instrumentation is used to install the required hardware. A similar approach is being taken with other surgeries once considered invasive by using different instrumentation and taking steps to minimize muscle damage.
Your overall health, including whether or not you have any preexisting medical conditions, and the extent of the problem that needs correcting will also determine whether or not MISS is possible for your situation. Regardless of the approach to surgery that’s recommended, odds of a successful outcome can be increased by adhering to follow-up instructions and making healthy lifestyle changes.
If you’re wondering if spine surgery is the right choice for you, or you would like a second opinion, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration, a leading Los Angeles spine surgery center. Our team of diagnosticians and spine specialists can review your specific case and provide treatment options aligned with your lifestyle. To schedule an in-person consultation, call (310) 828-7757.