Neurosurgery, Spine Surgery

January 15, 2015

How is a Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Performed?

Medical team preparing equipment for surgery  in operation room

The cutting-edge technology used in minimally invasive spine surgery allows for shorter procedures, faster recovery time, and less muscle damage in patients experiencing chronic back pain.

Minimally invasive spine surgery involves making smaller incisions in order to perform spinal procedures, which typically results in a much lower risk of damage to the muscles and tissues and less post-surgery pain overall. The advanced technology used in these procedures assures that your surgery will be quick and precise and will grant you relief from back pain caused by conditions like spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, or herniated discs. When you compare these results to those of traditional open spine surgery, choosing a minimally invasive option could be the right choice for you.

What Tools Are Used During Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?
In order to stabilize your spinal joints and relieve nerve pressure, minimally invasive spine procedures utilize small tools called tubular retractors. Through a small incision, the retractor is inserted through your skin and tissues all the way to your spinal column. The retractor holds the tissues in place, giving the surgeon open access to the spine.

Using a guide wire, your neurosurgeon will insert specialized instruments through the center of the tubular retractor to remove any unnecessary pieces of bone. Depending on the procedure, other devices such as screws or rods will be inserted through the same tube.

In order to visualize where to place the incision and insert the retractor and other tools, the surgeon is guided by a fluoroscope or laparoscope. These tools display real-time images of your spine on a screen throughout the surgery. The surgeon also uses an operating microscope to magnify the view through the tubular retractor.

What Procedures Use Minimally Invasive Technology?
One of the most common types of minimally invasive spine surgery is a spinal fusion, which involves fusing at least two spinal bones, or vertebrae, together to prevent movement. Spinal fusion is usually done to fix fractures or other injuries, strengthen a spine weakened by an infection or to provide relief from severe arthritis pain in the spine. Spinal fusion can also straighten an abnormal curvature like scoliosis or treat spondylolisthesis.

At Arkansas Surgical Hospital, our neurosurgeons also use minimally invasive technology in spinal decompressions, like laminectomies. These surgeries are performed using a small microscope to magnify the surgical field. Miniature instruments are used to trim the spinal vertebrae placing pressure on your nerves.

What Are the Advantages Over Open Surgery?
If you compare the typical results of a minimally invasive spine surgery to that of traditional open procedures, you can expect several benefits:

  • Better appearance and healing post-op, due to smaller incisions
  • Less bleeding and scarring
  • Faster recovery and rehabilitation time
  • Reduced risk of muscle damage
  • Reduced risk of infections and pain

Is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Right for You?
Every case of back pain is unique and the only way to diagnose your condition and determine your treatment path is to consult with a doctor. For more information on minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital or call (877) 918-7020 to schedule an appointment.

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