What Is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and Its Benefits


Spine surgery has been carried out as open surgery in the past. In it, the affected area is opened with a long incision. This lets the surgeon view and access the patient’s anatomy. However, recent technological advances have led surgeons to reduce their dependence on open surgery. They can now treat more back and neck conditions with minimally invasive surgical techniques.

At Advanced Pain Care, neurosurgery specialists use a multidisciplinary approach to provide the best treatment for different conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, spinal column, and central and peripheral nerves. If you are searching for the best neurosurgeon in Austin, visit Advanced Pain Care today to find out more about their neurosurgery services.

What Is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MIS)

Minimally invasive spine surgery is an effective technique for treating spinal conditions. In these types of surgery, the surgeon makes smaller incisions. So, there is less blood loss, which aids in faster recovery. The pain doctor, after making the incision, inserts a tubular retractor. This tube-shaped tool creates a tunnel to the affected area of the spine. It pushes aside the muscle and soft tissue surrounding the area. Then, the surgeon uses small tools through the tunnel to operate on the spine. The goal of this surgery is to stabilize the vertebral bones and spinal joints. It also aims to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves.

Minimally invasive spine surgery is used in the following circumstances:

  • When medications and physical therapy are not successful in relieving the pain due to your back problem.
  • The doctor can identify the precise pain source or the condition causing pain.

Treatment Options for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

A spinal surgeon can use various techniques for MIS surgery. Here are some of the most common treatment options:

Discectomy: Spinal discs are elastic rings containing a material inside that cushions between the vertebral bones. If the ring weakens, the soft tissue inside can herniate or extrude outside of it. The herniated disc material squeezes the nerves passing by. This causes pain. MIS surgery uses tubular dilators and a microscope to remove or reduce the affected disc.

Spinal decompression: Spinal stenosis also compresses the nerves. This leads to pain, numbness, and muscle weakness. Minimally invasive spine surgery removes the bone and soft tissues, leading to nerve compression. Again, the surgeon uses tubular dilators and a microscope to operate on the patient. Laminectomy and foraminotomy are two very common procedures for spinal decompression.

Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF): This is an MIS technique suitable for patients with conditions like spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease, and recurrent disc herniation. They experience persistent low back and radicular pain. The surgery is performed from the back with the patient lying on their stomach. The surgeon places two small incisions, screws, and rods between the patient’s two or more vertebral levels. They remove the intervertebral disc. Now, a cage filled with bone is placed in that blank space. The aim is to stabilize the levels affected.

Recovery after Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

MIS procedures reduce hospital stays dramatically. Sometimes, they can even performed on an outpatient basis. The exact duration of the hospital stay depends on the specific condition treated and the procedure used. Generally, it has been seen that with MIS, patients return home the same day. At the most, they will be required to stay in the hospital for 1 to 2 days. This is in contrast with those who undergo conventional or open surgery. They need to stay in the hospital for a minimum of 3 and a maximum of five days.

The main reason behind shortened hospital stays is the quick recovery that patients who undergo MIS experience. The technique does not disturb muscles and soft tissues. Patients also feel less pain after the procedure. It is not to say that there won’t be any discomfort. However, it is much easier to control the pain. Your doctor will use various techniques to manage and ease post-operative pain. 

Physical therapy is one of the most effective ways to restore strength after minimally invasive spine surgery. The therapist recommends specific exercises that make you strong enough to return to your routine activities. 

From reduced infection risk to less pain and less dependence on medication, there are many benefits to minimally invasive spine surgery. Advanced Pain Care provides various operative and non-operative treatments for spine and back conditions, such as herniated disks, spinal cord injuries, and others. The neurosurgery clinic in Austin, TX provides patient-centric treatments, including pharmacologic interventions, advanced physical therapy, rehabilitation, critical care management, and pain management. If you’re considering minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Advanced Pain Care today to set up your consultation.

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