If you’re thinking about having spine surgery, the idea of a large incision, a long time in the hospital, and an extended period of convalescence before you can return to your life is probably on your mind. Have you considered minimally invasive spine surgery? It’s the fastest-growing type of surgery today because of all the advantages it offers to back pain sufferers, who can get relief more quickly with fewer complications and less pain.
Minimally invasive spine surgery offers several important advantages over traditional surgery, including:
1. Less pain
One of the reasons it can take so long to recover from spine surgery is because of damage to the soft tissue, which can include the cutting of back muscles, tendons, or ligaments. This is an unfortunate side effect of having the muscles retracted during surgery so the surgeon can easily see and access the area being operated on. “One of the major drawbacks of open surgery is that the pulling or ‘retraction’ of the muscle can damage the soft tissue,” said the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Although the goal of muscle retraction is to help the surgeon see the problem area, it typically affects more anatomy than the surgeon requires. As a result, there is greater potential for muscle injury, and patients may have pain after surgery that is different from the back pain felt before surgery. This can lead to a lengthier recovery period.”
In minimally invasive spine surgery, the surgeon uses specialized tools and sophisticated imagery to reach and see the affected area. “Compared to traditional open spine surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery utilizes the knowledge of important anatomy, along with cutting-edge technology, to treat your spinal condition without causing undue injury to the surrounding soft tissues,” said the Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery. “Computer-assisted technology (such as computer navigation and nerve monitoring) and highly specialized tools and instrumentation provide for the safe and effective treatment of your pain.”
2. A shorter operation
Minimally invasive procedures typically take less time to perform, which means less time under anesthesia and less blood loss—about 1/10th of open surgeries, and no blood transfusions. This means an easier surgery with lower infection rates and a faster healing time.
3. Less time in the hospital
Have traditional surgery for your back pain and you could be in the hospital for up to a week or more. With minimally invasive spine surgery, you may not have to be hospitalized at all. “Minimally Invasive surgical techniques are often performed on an outpatient basis, with patients going home the same day,” said Disc Spine Institute. For more intricate surgical procedures, patients may be looking at only a few days in the hospital.
4. Less scarring
If you’re not keen on having a massive scar down or across your back, minimally invasive spine surgery will definitely appeal to you. “In a traditional, open surgery, the doctor makes an incision that is 5 to 6 inches long,” said the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). In minimally invasive procedures, the incisions can be as small as 3mm.
Not only is that important for cosmetic reasons, but it can also reduce recovery time dramatically. The smaller incision also means there is less opportunity for scar tissue to form, which can further lower the incidence of complications.
For more information about spine surgery and minimally invasive procedures, visit DISC Spine Institute, experts in minimally invasive treatments, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate chronic back pain.