Anyone who has experienced significant back pain understands how difficult it is to lead a normal life while dealing with persistent discomfort. For some, the path toward relief may lie in back surgery. Traditionally, surgical procedures performed on the neck and back were done via “open surgery,” in which a large incision is made and the surgeon damages the muscles and surrounding tissue in the process of performing the surgery. “Open surgery” has a number of risks, including permanent damage to muscle, longer surgery time, difficulty in the healing process, increased risk of infection, delayed pain relief and delayed recovery. Today, an alternative approach known as Minimally Invasive Spine surgery is possible, and there are a number of reasons to consider this type of spine surgery.
What is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?
Sometimes known as less invasive spine surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery (MIS) uses small incisions to achieve the same result as the traditional “open surgery”. Using a small incision, sometimes only two centimeters in length, the surgeon can place a tube through the skin and tissues without damaging the muscle. This allows the surgeon to have access to the area that needs attention, yet allows the muscles and adjacent levels to remain intact. This leads to improved outcomes such as shorter surgery, improved pain relief, quicker recovery and lower surgical risk. Many different conditions can be addressed using MIS surgery, and it is becoming the preferred choice for many patients. Many surgeons are not trained in this newer technique, however, it is our specialty and the most common procedure we perform.
What Happens During the Procedure?
Each and every surgical procedure is unique and tailored to the specific needs of the patient. All spine surgeries, however, require that muscle tissue is moved out of the way so that the surgeon can see the area of the spine that requires surgical intervention. In MIS surgery, a dilator tube moves the muscle so the surgeon can see the spine, without damaging the muscle. A microscope is then used to remove the tissue, bone or disc material pressing on the nerves. This is very similar to laser spine surgery, except your insurance covers the procedure and a spine-trained surgeon performs the procedure.
What Can Patients Expect After the Surgery?
Because MIS requires a very small incision, healing is often much easier than in a traditional open surgery. That usually means a faster recovery period, less pain, lower complications and improved outcome. Patients who go through a minimally invasive spine surgery will be given a specific set of post-surgical instructions, which should be followed exactly as outlined.
Rocky Mountain Brain & Spine Institute is proud to be the only spinal surgery practice in the area to offer Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery to our patients. Our team is committed to remaining on the cutting edge of medicine, and we continue to provide the highest possible level of service to all of our patients. As always, we invite you to Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay on top of our services and innovations!