Minimally invasive spine surgery addresses back pain without the long recovery of open surgery

In the past, spine surgery meant “open surgery,” meaning the area was opened with a long incision, muscles and other tissue were manipulated to reach the spine, and lengthy recovery times usually followed. Thanks to advancements in orthopaedic medicine, Cary Orthopaedics Spine Center can now often treat back and neck conditions with minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS).

With a small incision, our surgeons are able to perform spinal fusions and decompressions without causing damage to the muscles around the spine. This results in significantly less pain after surgery and a much faster recovery period.

What are the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery?

Traditional spine surgery involves more invasive techniques to accomplish what minimally invasive spine procedures now offer. Utilizing a much smaller incision is only one advantage.

Traditional complex spine surgery requires more separation or retraction of the muscles and surrounding soft tissues to insert instrumentation and any hardware necessary to address the problem. The endoscope, through minimal invasion, avoids this additional trauma. As a result, excessive blood loss, post-operative pain and scarring are significantly lessened.

Additional benefits are that patients also require much less anesthesia, and hospital stays are dramatically shorter. While open spine surgery requires four to five days of inpatient hospitalization, many patients are able to go home the same day after endoscopic spine surgery.

How does minimally invasive spine surgery work?

Minimally invasive procedures are performed using a tool called an endoscope, which is a thin tube with a tiny video camera on the end. The “scope” is inserted through a small portal and is guided to the problem area.

Muscles are then expanded apart, rather than incised, and the operation is performed with minimal injury to the surrounding soft tissues. A tiny video camera on the end of the endoscope projects large-scale images of the spine onto a video screen, helping the surgeon to visualize quite easily.

Depending on the specific diagnosis and surgical technique used, this type of surgery may be performed either on an inpatient or outpatient basis.

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