Minimally Invasive Surgery
Spine surgery related to the neck is relatively straight forward: An small incision is made at the front of the neck and the surgeon is able to reach the herniated disc, remove the parts that are problematic, and if necessary perform a spinal fusion or install an artificial disc.
In the low back, however, surgery can be more complex and involve a three inch incision. This traditional “open” spine surgery may require several days in the hospital because of the three-inch long incision, where muscles and tissues are separated for access to the spine. The surgery usually results in trauma to surrounding tissues and some blood loss. Because of this the affected tissues and muscles require a long healing time.
In minimally invasive spine surgery, a smaller incision is made, sometimes only a half-inch in length. The surgeon uses tubular retractors that are the width of a ball point pen with tiny cameras and cutting devices in the tips.
The surgone works through these tiny incisions to access the damaged disc in the spine. Entry and repair to the damaged disc or vertebrae is achieved without disrupting nearby muscles.
While minimally invasive spine surgery requires extensive training and experience to master use of the tubular retractors and related instrumentation, there is huge benefit for the patient.
Benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery include:
- Smaller incision and smaller scar
- Less damage to tissues and muscles
- Less blood loss
- Less post-operative pain
- Less painful recovery
- Quicker return to activity