About Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Using the latest in spinal surgery technology, tools, and instruments, our spinal doctors in Seattle and Puyallup Washington provide minimally invasive spinal surgery (MISS) that allows patients to reap the full benefits of the procedure. At NeoSpine, our experienced surgeons pair state-of-the-art techniques with the safety, comfort, and value of an ambulatory surgery center.
What is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?
Minimally invasive spine surgery uses small incisions and specialized tools instead of traditional large incisions in order to minimize body trauma during surgery. The benefits and advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery include:
- Faster recovery time than open spine surgery
- Reduced blood loss
- Less soft-tissue damage
- Less post-surgery pain
- Smaller surgical incisions
- Less scarring
- Improved function
- Shorter postoperative hospitalization
What Makes Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Different from Open Spine Surgery?
Traditional open spinal surgery requires doctors to make a 5–6 inch long incision, then pull the muscles along the spine to the side to gain access needed to perform the surgery. While moving the muscle using this technique allows the doctor to access the area of treatment, it can cause soft-tissue damage. This can result in additional post-surgery pain and a longer recovery period. Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery is just as effective as the open spine surgery, but results in less injury to the muscles, shorter recovery periods, and minimized hospital stays.
How Are Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeries Performed?
The doctor makes a small incision near the area of the back to be treated, then guides a tubular retractor through the muscles down to the spinal column, which is stabilized throughout the procedure. The insertion of the tubular retractor creates a tunnel to the problem area on the spine and holds the muscles open.
Using small instruments that fit through the center of the tubular retractor, the doctor can access the problem area of the spine to carry out the rest of the procedure. When the operation is complete, the doctor removes the tubular retractor, and the muscles return to their original position.
Decreasing the size of the incision and minimizing movement of the anatomy around the spine limits muscle damage and post-surgery back pain common to open spine surgeries.
What Can Be Expected Following Surgery?
Post-operation recovery time varies for each patient and depends on the individual procedure. Generally, patients stay in the hospital for two to three days after surgery. We offer alternative minimally invasive spinal procedures that allow patients to leave the same day as the operation.
What Are the Potential Complications Associated with Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?
As with any operation, complications may occur. Common complications and risks for minimally invasive spine surgery are:
- Infections: Patients are consistently given antibiotics before, during, and after surgery to lessen the risk of infection.
- Recurring symptoms: Occasionally, some patients continue to experience their original symptoms.
- Pseudarthrosis: Patients who smoke are more likely to develop pseudarthrosis, or false joint. If this occurs, a second surgery may be necessary to obtain a solid fusion.
- Nerve damage: While very rare, it is possible for nerve damage to occur during surgery.
- Blood clots: Also a less common complication, blood clots can form in the leg, which can be dangerous if they break off and travel to the lungs.
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeries
NeoSpine offers the following minimally invasive procedures:
- Microdiscectomy (cervical and lumbar)
- Microsurgery with tubular retractors
- Laminoforaminotomy (cervical and lumbar)
- Anterior cervical fusion with cages and plates
- Percutaneous pedicle screw fixation
- XLIF (extreme lateral lumbar interbody fusion)
- X-Stop (interspinous process decompression)
- Endoscopic Spine Surgery
- Robotic Spine Surgery (ExcelsiusGPS)