Learn just what “minimally invasive” means when it comes to spine surgery:
Traditional spine surgery is performed by cutting long,deep incisions through muscle, which can leave the patient with long scars and an even longer healing time. Minimally invasive spine surgery uses the least invasive techniques and minimal cutting possible to give the surgeon access to the spine. By utilizing these techniques, the surgeon cuts down on the patient's recovery time and scarring.
There are a variety of techniques that are considered minimally invasive, so ask your surgeon what technique he will use. The most common minimally invasive approach is the use of tubular dilators to widen the opening. These tools spread the muscle apart, whereas a traditional spine surgery cuts through the muscle. The surgeon then uses special tools to work through the tubular dilators to perform the needed procedure. By using this technique, less musculature damage occurs, which results in less pain and a speedier recovery for the patient.
Minimally invasive surgery offers many benefits to the patient that traditional spine surgery does not. Patients who undergo minimally invasive spine surgery may have a shorter recovery time due to the nature of the operation. Because the operation is performed through a small incision, blood loss, pain, and muscle damage are reduced. This means the patient is able to get back on their feet sooner, with less dependence on post-operative narcotics. Patients may have a shorter hospital stay, in some cases as short as 1-2 days. The length of your stay will be determined by your physician.
Not every one is eligible for minimally invasive spine surgery. Not all spines are alike, so only your surgeon can tell if you are an eligible candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery. If certain conditions are not met, your surgeon may opt to perform your procedure with a traditional approach. Only your physician can determine if you are a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery.