What is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?
Minimally invasive spine surgery (MIS), first performed in the 1980s, is an alternative to traditional "open" surgery. MIS uses special techniques and instruments to reduce incision size and trauma to the body. Recent technological advances have made it possible for more people to qualify for the MIS method. MIS was developed to treat disorders of the spine with less disruption to the muscles. Patients experience less blood loss and quicker recovery and return to normal function. Types of spinal disorders that can be treated with MIS include degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, fractures, tumors, infections, instability and deformity.
How is MIS Performed?
Minimally invasive spine surgery requires only a small incision. In some cases, the surgeon uses an endoscope, a long, thin tube with a tiny camera on the end. The camera is inserted through the incision in the skin, enabling the surgeon to see inside the body and treat the affected area of the spine.
What are the Benefits of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?
The benefits of surgery should always be weighed carefully against its risks. Although a large percentage of patients report significant symptom and pain relief, there is no guarantee that surgery will help every individual. Potential benefits of MIS include:
- Smaller incisions
- Smaller scars/less scar tissue
- Reduced blood loss
- Less pain
- Less soft tissue damage
- Less disruption to muscles during surgery
- Decreased need for narcotic pain medicine
- Shorter hospital stay
- Possibility of no hospital stay
- Faster recovery
- Quicker return to normal activities
Who is a Candidate for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?
As with all nonemergency spinal surgeries, the patient should first try conservative treatment, such as physical therapy, pain medication or bracing. Surgery is considered if there is no improvement within six weeks to six months, depending on the condition. Not everyone is a candidate for an MIS procedure. For each patient, a surgeon must be certain that the technique will produce the same or better results as traditional open surgery.
How is Recovery After MIS?
Many MIS procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis. In some cases, the surgeon may require a hospital stay, typically one to two days, depending on the procedure. Physical therapy usually is required after surgery. Many patients are back to work and normal activities within six weeks.
See a Spine Care Specialist
For more information about minimally invasive spine surgery, or to make an appointment with a Norton Spine Care specialist, please call (502) 629-1234.