Now or later? Use vacation time or disability? Traditional or minimally invasive? It’s understandable to have a lot of questions if you’re looking at the possibility of having back surgery, and some of them might be a little harder than others to answer. We can help you with that last one. This quick guide will assist you in understanding the pros and cons of traditional back surgery and minimally invasive procedures.
Minimally invasive surgery
Only 10 percent of today’s spine surgeons have the necessary experience and technical skill to perform minimally invasive procedures, which only emphasizes the importance of researching leading spine surgeons when considering back surgery.
Minimally invasive surgery has evolved, advanced, and grown greatly in popularity as patients have sought out surgical procedures that offer real hope and surgeons have turned to the craft to advance their skills and provide long-awaited relief for back pain sufferers through:
- Less time in the hospital—“In general, minimally invasive spine surgery decreases the hospital stay by one-half,” said the Society of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (SMISS).
- Less blood loss during surgery and no transfusions
- Less time under anesthesia, which means a lowered risk of infection
- Less scar formation thanks to the much smaller incisions—as small as 3mm!
- No cutting of back muscles, tendons or ligaments
- Less pain because of the reduced tissue and muscle damage
- A faster recovery time and return to “normal life”
This type of surgery has been tested over many years and is still being successfully used. Open surgery does require longer surgical time and longer incisions in order to expose the anatomy, which can contribute to a longer recovery time.
Although minimally invasive procedures are rising in popularity, there are some conditions that do require and benefit most from a traditional, open spine surgery. For patients who have multiple spinal problems, a traditional approach may be recommended to improve the surgical outcome and to be able to access multiple surgical areas. The benefit is a single surgery performed on multiple levels with a single incision.
Making a decision
How do you decide? Do your research to find the best spine surgeon. Chose the best doctor to diagnose, treat your back pain and who is willing to work with you to find the best solution for the best outcome.