Minimally invasive spinal surgery is a quicker and safer alternative to open surgery. The spinal discs, vertebrae and nerves are present deep inside the body. A small incision is made and the surgical instruments and a camera is inserted which push aside the muscles and reach the problem area.
Which medical conditions can be addressed with minimally invasive spine surgery?
1. Degenerative Disc Disease (osteoarthritis of the spine)
2. Herniated Disc (the disc protrudes from its right place)
3. Spinal Tumours
4. Vertebral compression fractures (collapse of the vertebra)
5. Lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the space near the spinal cord)
6. Scoliosis (the spine curves sideways)
7. Spinal infections
8. Spinal instability
What are the goals of minimally invasive spine surgery?
1. Decompression: this procedure eases the pressure being exerted on the spinal cord or the nerve roots. This pressure can be the cause of pinched nerves.
2. Stabilization: sometimes, a segment of the spinal cord that has come loose can be the source of pain. A stabilizations surgery fuses the segment to the rest of the structure.
The three most common methods of minimally invasive spine surgery are-
1. Tubular: it is also called ‘muscle splitting’ surgery. A tubular retractor passes through the muscles of the back and reaches the spine.
2. Mini-open: it is a lot like open surgery but with fewer risks and blood loss. The possibility of post-operation infection goes down significantly.
3. Endoscopic: it is also called a keyhole surgery. A small camera is introduced through a small incision and guided to the spine. The camera gives an internal view of the spine to the doctors.
The three types of Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery are-
1. Microdiscectomy: involves the removal of the intervertebral disc that is putting pressure on the spinal cord.
2. Foraminotomy: spinal conditions can lead to narrowed foramen (the area where the spinal nerve exits the spine). The aim of the surgery is to expand the foramen.
3. Microlaminectomy: this is yet another type of decompression surgery. The aim is to relieve pain caused pinched nerves or a segment of the bone pressing down on the nerves.
What are the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery?
• Speedy and pain-free recovery after surgery
• A patient is discharged the same day
• Very little loss of blood
• Reduced chances of infection
• Less scarring because the operation is done through small incisions
• Less muscle damage
Are there any risks attached to minimally invasive spine surgery?
No surgery is free of risks or side effects. Some common problems in the aftermath of minimally invasive spine surgery are-
Minimally invasive spinal surgery incorporates the latest advances in the world of technology. It is the relatively hassle-free procedure and convenient for both doctors and patients.