Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery – Things That You Should Know

With the improvements in the field of medicine that are developed each year, spine surgical procedure is becoming much less of a health risk to individuals with back pain. More than 80 percent of Americans who are enduring back pain will now have treatment with the aid of minimally invasive procedures. Furthermore, a patient can also choose nonsurgical options that are being offered these days around the world.

Minimally invasive spinal surgery is a procedure that utilizes a flexible type of tube with a tiny light source and small camera to permit the neurosurgeon look inside the human body. The tube, known as endoscope, was initially created in 1910. Its usage became popular in 1980s for gall bladder surgery. However, spine surgery is a fairly recent endoscopic procedure that has become more widespread over the last couple of years.

A lot of neurosurgeons these days have advanced and state-of-the-art equipment at their medical offices or clinics for the diagnosis of the illness resulting in a spinal problem. Computed tomography scanners have been made to give better visual images of the tissues with 3D imaging capabilities. In addition, MRI or magnetic resonance imaging with contrast can display very precise images of the surrounding tissues and spinal column to treat and diagnose back problems. The endoscope is connected to a TV screen that permits the neurosurgeon to find the affected area and use small instruments that have been implanted into one or two small cuts in the back. With remarkable diagnostic procedures, the neurosurgeon will have a better view with which to operate, so he does not need to carry out sizeable incisions in the back just to see it.

Non-invasive spinal surgery is best for the patient in a number of ways:

• Small-sized incisions – non-invasive spinal surgery makes use of two small cuts that are just about one inch long. In accordance with the approach, the incisions of traditional spine surgery may be three to eight inches long. A small incision implies less blood loss and less stress to tissues. In addition, a small incision results in less scarring too.

• Shorter time to recover – the recovery time of traditional surgery usually takes up to a year. On the other hand, the recovery time from the endoscopic method is reduced to a couple of days or months. The time spent in the hospital is also minimized.

Individuals Permitted for Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery

Not all spine surgery can be carried out with non-invasive procedures. Surgical treatments that need the installation of metal bars or extensive bone grafts cannot be done endoscopically. The right candidates for endoscopic surgical treatment, as for most surgical procedures, are those who are essentially healthy, doesn’t smoke and physically fit. The health concerns that can be treated by non-invasive surgery include compression fractures, spinal tumors, scoliosis, and degenerated discs.

Spinal surgical methods that can be carried out endoscopically include:

  • Discectomy – the extraction of a piece of tough elastic tissue between the vertebrae.
  • Laminectomy – the extraction of the lamina which is a part of the vertebral bone.
  • The attachment of pedicle screws which are utilized to help brace the spine.
  • Lumbar inter-body fusion – it is a bone graft of two vertebras in the lower back.
  • Cervical foraminotomy – a method used to access the holes in the bone in which the spinal nerves cross.


As with any surgical treatment, you will have to pass though the anesthetic, which takes one to two hours. A patient can be expected to be awake and walking in the evening after the surgery or on the following day. Your anesthesiologist or surgeon will take care of your discomfort while you’re inside the hospital. Certain treatments, like endoscopic discectomies, are usually carried out on an out-patient basis and you can go back to your home the same day. A lot of individuals who have gone through minimally invasive spine surgery are able to return home after a couple of days. Full rehabilitation is determined by the treatment; recuperation from a fusion usually takes four to six weeks, while rehabilitation from a discectomy may just take a couple of weeks. A lot of surgeons suggest physical therapy promote full recovery and to help reinforce the muscles of the back.

Possible Complications

There’s no surgical procedure is without complications. The commonest risks from minimally invasive spine surgery are anesthetic reactions, bleeding, thrombus in the legs, and infection. On the other hand, paralysis is considered a much less risk that develops about once in every 10,000 surgical procedures. Sometimes, a minimally invasive spine surgery cannot be carried out as intended and the neurosurgeon needs to make use of conventional surgery as an alternative. Because this is a rather novel procedure, there are no many details regarding its long-term benefits and risks.

Alternative Treatments

Traditional spine surgery is the best alternative treatment. For tumors, possible alternative treatments are chemotherapy and radiation.

Cedric Loiselle is an excellent and knowledgeable writer of high-quality and informative articles catering to a number of niches including health and fitness, home improvement, as well as business and finance.

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