If you have problems with your back that involve the bones, discs and nerves in your spinal column, you have probably read about open and minimally invasive spine surgery. What are the differences between them, and why is minimally invasive surgery minimally invasive?
In open surgery, the surgeon makes a 5 to 6-inch incision in your back or your neck to access your spine. The surgeon will need to displace or even detach the soft tissue around the problem area of your spinal column and may need to remove an entire disc from between your vertebrae. The disc is a cushion of cartilage that keeps the vertebrae from rubbing against each other.
After the disc is removed, that part of your spinal column will need to be fused together. To do this, the surgeon uses rods, screws, cages or even bone grafts from another part of your body such as your pelvis. These implants will make your spine stable, but they’ll also restrict its mobility when the two vertebrae fuse together. During this surgery you’ll need to be under general anesthesia, and you will spend from one to three nights in the hospital. The recovery after open spine surgery tends to be lengthy and uncomfortable.
Minimally Invasive Surgery
Minimally invasive surgery is possible thanks to advances in surgical technology. The surgeon can use miniaturized tools and a tiny camera attached to a monitor that guides them during the surgery. Because of this, they only need to make small incisions around the problem area in your neck or back. Instead of resecting muscles and other soft tissues, they only need to push them aside to get a clear view of your vertebra. Because the muscles and soft tissue are not cut or violently retracted, there is less blood loss and less risk of infection.
During minimally invasive spine surgery, the disc can be replaced with bone grafts or an artificial disc. In many cases, you may not even need to spend the night in the hospital, and the recovery that you experience at home is shorter and less painful than your recovery from open surgery would be.
Pros and Cons
Both surgeries still come with risks and should be considered only when more conservative treatments to ease your pain have failed.
Though minimally invasive spine surgery has its benefits, it is not for everyone. Studies show that it provides the same level of relief as open surgery when it comes to repairing herniated discs in the neck but was not as efficient in bringing relief to patients who have a herniated disc in their lower back. However, it was superior to open surgery when it came to transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, or TLIF. This is a procedure where the front and back of the spine are fused together through an operation in your back. Even then, patients who had had the minimally invasive surgery were more likely to return to the doctor for revisions. Minimally invasive surgery also exposed the surgeon to more radiation because of its reliance on fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopy is a type of X ray motion picture that lets the doctor see what is happening to the surgical site.
Make an Appointment today!
Advanced Spine Centers
1705 Ohio Dr. Ste #300, Plano, TX 75093
Toll Free 1-833-60-SPINE