Minimally invasive spine surgery explained

When we think about spinal surgery, it can bring up some pretty scary scenarios of painful, invasive procedures that take forever to recover from. But did you know that certain medical conditions can be corrected through minimally invasive spine surgery? Rather than open up the entire area to operate on the spine, less invasive treatments focus on making a small, precise incision to remove damaged tissue, correct misalignment, and relieve nerve pain. Patients dealing with knee injuries or sprained ankle treatment might not be able to fall back on less-invasive procedures due to the nature of these injuries. However, if you’re suffering from nerve damage or other chronic pain, you might want to ask your local Sioux Falls orthopedic surgeons about your options. If you’re interested, here’s what you should know about minimally invasive spine surgery.

How It Works

Minimally invasive spinal surgery acts as a counterpoint to traditional spinal surgery, which usually involves making a longer vertical incision along one area of the spine. Minimally invasive surgery, on the other hand, uses precise tools to make a much smaller incision. This not only reduces the risk of muscle tears, it creates a much less painful surgery and a shorter recovery time. Because the minimally invasive option involves a very precise area of the spine, the best candidates are people suffering from back problems who can identify the exact location of the pain. Once the pain has spread, it’s harder to get the best results from a minimal incision. However, the more a doctor knows about the point of the injury, the more precise of a cut they can make. Since the spine is divided up into four sections, the site of pain can tell surgeons which nerve endings are being affected as well as where to make the cut.

Why It Works

This type of spinal surgery may not be the best for chronic sufferers of back pain where the pain is more dispersed, but for patients suffering from a herniated disk or more localized injury, it can be the perfect way to quickly correct a problem and minimize the pain. The surgery works by either using instruments to shave off a part of the vertebra that’s pressing on a nerve ending and causing sensitivity, to remove damaged tissue, or to place screws and rods in the affected area of the spine to relieve symptoms. In many cases, the use of a small camera called an endoscope is used to view the damaged area before the surgery takes place. In most cases, the recovery time for minimally invasive spinal procedures is very short. Most patients are able to head home after only one day’s hospital stay.

What It Works Best For

Patients who suffer from long-term back problems, constant nerve sensitivity, and joint pain. For patients with herniated disks, minimally-invasive spinal surgery can provide nearly instant pain relief. Patients who suffer from joint sensitivity can also benefit from a non-invasive procedure that allows doctors to perform lumbar fusion to relieve stress in the lower back area.