What Makes My Spine Surgery “Minimally Invasive”?
Traditionally, spine surgery is performed as an “open surgery,” which means that a surgeon uses a long incision to view and gain access to the anatomy. Thanks to a variety of technological advances, conditions of the back and neck can now be treated with minimally invasive surgical techniques.
Since a minimally invasive spine surgery eliminates the need for a long incision, extensive damage to the muscles surrounding the spine can be avoided, resulting in less post-surgery pain and a faster recovery. For more information on minimally invasive surgical techniques regarding the spine, keep reading.
What Happens During a Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
A minimally invasive spine surgery is typically conducted through a small incision. During a decompression and spinal fusion, two popular types of minimally invasive spine surgeries, a special tool known as a tubular retractor is used. Once a small incision is made, a tubular retractor is inserted to create a tunnel to the spinal area of concern.
Throughout the procedure, the tubular retractor holds the muscles open. To gain access to the spine, the surgeon uses small instruments that fit through the center of the tubular retractor. To determine where the incision must be placed and insert the retractor, the surgeon uses a special x-ray referred to as a fluoroscope.
Real-time images of the patient’s spine are displayed on a screen during the surgery to ensure that the medication is injected as close as possible to the inflamed nerve root. At the end of the minimally invasive surgical procedure, the tubular retractor is removed and the incision is closed.
Recovering from a Minimally Invasive Surgery
Some of the greatest advantages to minimally invasive surgical techniques regarding the spine are quicker healing, shorter hospital stays, and a faster return to daily activities. Generally, a minimally invasive spine surgery decreases the hospital stay by one-half. A minimally invasive procedure such as an endoscopic discectomy allows patients to return home on the same day of the surgery.
It’s important to note that recovery time is unique to each surgery and patient. While some patients return to full activity in only 6 weeks, others may require more time. Deciding when to go back to work also depends on the patient’s surgery and occupation.
Contact EmergeOrtho: Foothills Region to Learn More
If you’re wondering whether minimally invasive spine techniques are right for your particular needs, request an appointment at EmergeOrtho: Foothills Region today. Our team of board-certified surgeons have decades of experience in minimally invasive surgeries. We will evaluate your condition and design a treatment plan that is right for you.