What is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) is an advanced surgery procedure used to treat back pain and neck pain due to various spinal problems. Among the spinal disorders that can be treated through MISS are:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated discs
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal Stenosis

Under minimally invasive spine surgery, the surgeon is aided by a computer-assisted technology. He or she uses also specialized instruments during the surgery. Patients who underwent MISS can expect faster recovery after surgery and may only experience less post-operative pain because smaller incisions are made. Aside from that, one of the benefits of choosing MISS is it lessens the possibility soft tissue damage and poses lesser risk than an open spine surgery.

What is the purpose of minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS)?

The purpose of minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) is divided into two parts:

  • Decompression – relieve the pressure felt by the patient and lessen the pain.
  • Stabilization- when a mobile segment is the cause of pain or abnormal movement can lead to pain, stabilizing surgery is performed.

3 Methods on how minimally invasive spine surgery can be performed

  • Mini-open – this technique is quite similar to open procedure. It is considered to be less risky because less blood is loss during the surgery. There is also a minimal percentage that infection may develop because only smaller incision is made.
  • Tubular – this surgery method uses tubular retractor, often called “muscle-splitting”. MISS with tubular retractor offers less risk to the patient because there is less muscle damage and less blood loss.
  • Endoscopic – this type of surgical procedure uses a small video camera, referred as “endoscope”, its size is smaller than a dime and it is inserted to the small incisions, usually less than 2 cm in length, so the surgeon can gain clear access to the patient’s spine. This technique is known as the “keyhole surgery” because the attending surgeon is guided by an endoscope all throughout the surgery in order to get an internal vies of the patient’s body shown on screen.

The above methods are either performed on particular spine surgeries like discectomy, foraminotomy, and laminectomy and laminotomy.

When should I consider a minimally invasive spine surgery?

Minimally invasive spine surgery is the final option to treat a person’s disturbing pain due to a spine disorder. This particular surgery approach is often recommended by spine specialists if the patient did not respond or his or her present condition has not improved despite the use of various non-surgical treatments like intake of pain relievers, complete rest or undergoing physical therapy program within the 6 to 12 months monitoring period.

Are there any complications after surgery?

Just like any type of surgery procedure, there is still a possibility that complications may arise and are entirely dependent on the patient’s health condition and strict compliance of the post-operative care instructions. Below are some the common complications:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Recurring symptoms of pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Blood clot
  • Pseudarthrosis (may develop among patients who smoke)