In the past, traditional spine surgery meant a large incision and a lengthy recovery time. This technique is called ‘open’ surgery. While ‘open’ surgery is still used, there is an alternative today for some types of back and neck surgeries. Many conditions can be successfully treated with minimally invasive spine surgery. These special techniques offer a number of benefits for our patients at Atlanta Brain and Spine Care.
What is minimally invasive spine surgery?
This technique allows the surgeon to make a small incision through which an instrument called an endoscope is inserted. The endoscope contains a tiny video camera and a light that enables the doctor to view the images from inside the body on a screen. Other small incisions allow access for special surgical instruments the surgeon uses to perform the procedure.
What are the benefits for the patient?
There are several benefits for the patient:
- Smaller incisions – This means less damage to the muscle and surrounding tissue. There is less trauma for the body and less blood loss. Scarring should be less noticeable, making the cosmetic results more pleasing.
- Less post-operative pain – Smaller incisions are less painful. Patients shouldn’t require as much pain medication during their recovery.
- Faster recovery time – Patients don’t require a long hospital stay. Many minimally invasive procedures can be performed in outpatient facilities. Patients heal faster and are able to return to regular activities sooner. Their physical rehabilitation period may be shorter.
- Fewer complications – All surgeries have risks, but minimally invasive surgeries may present fewer complications. Less anesthesia is required, so there are fewer adverse reactions. There is a reduced risk of infection because the incisions are significantly smaller. Patients develop less dependency on pain medications.
Who is a good candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery?
Not every patient is a good candidate. While it may seem to be an attractive option, this technique is not appropriate for all spinal conditions. The neurosurgeons at Atlanta Brain and Spine Carecan perform the following types of surgeries using minimally invasive techniques:
- Discectomy – the removal of intervertebral discs.
- Pedicle screws – vertebral screws used to correct deformities or treat trauma. They may be used to immobilize part of the spine.
- Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty – procedures used to treat spinal compression fractures.
- Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) – We use a mini-open approach that is far less invasive than the traditional open approach.
- Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) – We use a mini-open technique for conditions such as spondylolisthesis and degenerative disc disease.
Atlanta Brain and Spine Care surgeons have considerable experience performing these minimally invasive surgeries with excellent outcomes. We only adopt new technologies when their safety and quality are proven. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors to discuss your treatment options. We have seven convenient locations in the metro Atlanta area.