What is minimally invasive spine surgery?

What is minimally invasive spinal surgery?

Minimally invasive spine surgery employs special techniques and tools that enable surgeons to perform operations through smaller incisions. In general smaller incisions mean less post-operative pain and quicker recovery times. With the advent of special retractor systems and techniques of placing spinal instrumentation through the skin using x-ray guidance, a variety of spine surgeries can be performed with less surgical trauma.


What conditions can be treated?

A variety of conditions can be treated through minimally invasive techniques. These include herniated discs, spinal stenosis, spondylolishtesis, adjacent segment spinal disorders, and spinal fractures


What types of techniques are there?

Techniques vary and include minimally invasive tubular surgery, lateral transpsoas approach for interbody fusion, and kyphoplasty.

Tubular surgery

Tubular surgery involves making a small skin incision followed by placement of a series of dilators over to approach the surgical area. Finally a working tube is inserted through which the surgical procedure can be performed. Through the tube removal of a herniated disc, spinal decompression and even spinal fusion can be performed.

Lateral Transpsoas Interbody Fusion

A lateral transpsoas interbody fusion is a minimally invasive technique through which the spine is accessed through a lateral approach. It can be used to provide decompression and stabilization. Patients with spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, or adjacent segment disease may be candidates.  

Percutaneous Fusion

Percutaneous fusion involves the placement of spinal instrumentation across multiple spinal levels though various small incisions. It can be used in combination with other techniques such as a lateral transposas interbody or for the primary treatment for some spinal fractures.

Kyphoplasty

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive treatment option for the management of spinal fractures. It involves the placement of a needle into the fractured level and subsequent stabilization by the infusion of a bone cement.

While many disorders of the spine can be treated with minimally invasive techniques, minimally invasive spine surgery may not be the best choice for all patients. Candidates for minimally invasive spine surgery must be carefully chosen on a case by case basis. Careful review of the patient's symptoms and imaging findings is needed to match the proper surgical technique with the proper patient. 

A number or factors will help determine the optimal treatment paradigm. Our team of neurosurgeons can aid in navigating among the options and provide a treatment plan tailored to you.

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