Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) is neither new nor experimental. Advanced technology provides surgeons with the tools to alleviate the debilitating neck and back pain felt by their patients. The main reasons that patients have MISS are to either:
- Stabilize an unusual or abnormal movement within the spine
- Decompress some spinal cord or pinched nerve pain and pressure
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MISS successfully treats a number of spinal disorders while offering several advantages over traditional open surgery. With MISS there is little scarring, less post-operative discomfort and pain, lower risk of post-operative infections, less muscle and tendon damage, and a quicker recovery time. Depending on the reason for the operation, most MISS patients are able to resume their normal daily activities within a few weeks. Some patients will need physical therapy to regain their spinal strength while other patients may require less bodily movement to gain full recovery. Your surgeon will provide you with post-operative care instructions and will monitor your progress throughout your recovery.
How Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Treatment Works
Mini-open, endoscopic, and tubular are the three major techniques used for MISS. Your surgeon will determine the best procedure for your individual situation. You will be positioned face down on the operating table and given a general or local anesthetic before the procedure to ensure that you will not feel anything throughout the operation. Special surgical instruments are inserted through small incisions to give your surgeon an accurate view of and clear access to the area needing spinal correction. When a tubular retractor is used, it pushes aside your back muscles without risking any tissue damage.
A typical MISS procedure is completed in two to three hours and the incisions are closed with stitches or staples. Some patients are able to leave the surgical center after a few hours of observation.
Conditions Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Could Help
As with all forms of surgery, there is no one-size-fits-all surgery for all patients. That said, MISS has proven beneficial for a number of neck and spine conditions that include: herniated discs, sciatica, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and spinal injuries, tumors, infections, and fractures. It is always helpful to discuss your personal spinal issues with your surgeon because the type of spinal disorders and conditions suitable for a MISS is continuously expanding.
Patients Benefitting from Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
If standard, non-surgical, treatments such as medication, yoga, massage therapy, or the use of braces have failed to provide any improvement or pain relief, you may be a MISS candidate. Spinal related symptoms that may be treated with MISS include: numbness or tingling sensations in your extremities, not being able to stand or walk for more than a few minutes at a time, the onset of neck or back pain following an injury, or difficulty getting out of bed or a chair due to neck or back pain. These conditions need to be discussed and evaluated with your surgeon to determine if you are a suitable MISS candidate.