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    Minimally Invasive Surgery

    Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

    Through minimally invasive spine surgery, a surgeon can operate on the spine without making large incisions. Not only does this eliminate the need to cut through muscle tissue — it also results in significantly less pain and a quicker recovery. The term “minimally invasive spine surgery” does not imply a specific procedure for treating a certain condition, but rather refers to a general method of performing spine surgery that can be applied to a wide range of surgical procedures, such as decompression and spinal fusion.

    Benefits Compared to Open Surgery

    In traditional open surgery, a surgeon will first make a large incision on a patient’s back. Then, the surgeon must detach the muscle tissue that is connected to the spine. This is typically done with a cautery device where you are essentially burning the muscle off the spine to expose the vertebrae. Although the patient may gain relief from the spinal condition treated by the procedure, it obviously damages the muscle during this process. This typically causes more pain following surgery and longer recovery times. It also may lead to long term muscle damage that could lead to chronic back pain and potentially contribute to instability of the spine in the future. With minimally invasive spine surgery, less injury is inflicted upon the muscles surrounding the spine. The incision is only centimeters long (rather than inches), and less bleeding occurs. Minimally invasive spine procedures are associated with less blood loss, shorter hospital stays, and greater patient satisfaction. Some procedures can be done on an outpatient basis, where you go home the day of surgery.

    The risks involved in minimally invasive spine surgery are similar to those encountered when undergoing any spine surgery, such as bleeding, pain at the surgery site, neurologic injury, and infection. However, these risks are generally much lower than those posed by traditional open surgery.
    Patients who undergo minimally invasive spine surgery usually have a shorter recovery period. For procedures such as a microdiscectomy, patients usually go home the same day. For spinal fusion procedures patients typically go home 24 to 48 hours after their surgery. Traditional open spine surgery patients typically stay in the hospital for several days and may require in-patient rehabilitation following surgery. Open procedures are also associated with higher blood transfusion rates following surgery. It is very rare to require a blood transfusion following MISS. Physical therapy is sometimes recommended after surgery to regain strength for daily activities, depending on the patient’s procedure and his or her physical condition.

    Did you know that the incision for a minimally invasive spine surgery can be as small as two centimeters?