Endoscopic Spine Surgery

Endoscopic Spine Surgery: Everything You Need to Know

Do you have back pain that is hindering your life and preventing you from doing everyday activities?

Instead of ignoring the pain you’re enduring, it’s essential that you tackle it head-on. Have you already done so and are about to undergo endoscopic spine surgery?

You’ve made the right choice in deciding to take charge of your body and your health.

What is this spine surgery you’re about to undergo and why is it being done? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about endoscopic spine surgery.

Why Would You Need It?

Before we go over the surgery itself, let’s cover why you may need it.

Sometimes pressure is being put on your spinal nerves due to scoliosis, bone spurs, spinal instability, spinal tumors, or herniated discs.

Before even having a discussion about surgery, your doctor will want to exhaust every non-surgical option there is. And there are things you can do on your own before you get to that point.

In fact, if you’ve been suffering from back pain that is only getting worse, there are ways to tell on your own if you have scoliosis.

That being said, if you are in pain or have any of the conditions we mentioned above, back surgery might be in your future. But the more non-invasive, the better. That’s why our spinal surgery is safer and more effective.

What is Endoscopic Spine Surgery?

Endoscopic spine surgery is minimally invasive. It requires an incision of less than an inch. Furthermore, it uses a tiny tube to navigate in between back muscles.

The surgery is done through the tube in order to decrease muscle damage and weakness that may be caused by muscle retraction.

A very tiny high-definition camera is used as a guide. From there, the surgeon can remove bone spurs, disc herniation, or whatever is needed to repair the spine.

Patients often feel immediate relief and have a greater chance of feeling that relief by using this minimally invasive surgery.

Why Is It Better Than Traditional Surgery?

The thing about traditional surgery is that it’s much more invasive. The larger an incision, the more possibility there is for damage to muscles, ligaments, and bones.

Scar tissue that develops from traditional surgery could create even more damage in the long run.

After traditional surgery, a patient might notice a decrease in pain. However, the potential collateral damage incurred by traditional surgery could cause the patient to have even more pain, long-term.

Some of the potential benefits of choosing a minimally invasive surgery such as endoscopic spine surgery are:

  • Less blood loss from surgery
  • Reduced chance of muscle damage
  • Reduced risk of infection and post-op pain
  • Faster recovery time
  • Less rehabilitation required
  • Better cosmetic results from a small incision
  • Less reliance on pain medications after surgery

Hardware Can Also Be Minimally Invasive

Depending on your condition, your surgery may include the placement of screws or rods on your spine. This can still be done using non-invasive spine surgery.

Traditionally, surgery required extensive removal of muscle and other tissues from the surface of the spine. But without cutting away or dissecting underlying muscle, minimally invasive surgery also allows for implanting hardware. 

Through additional small skin incisions, rods and screws can be inserted through the skin.

Why Is It so Important?

Your spinal cord is part of your central nervous system and is the main source of communication between your body and brain. That’s why damage or any issues with the spinal cord can have such an impact on everyday life.

It’s also why the greatest care should be taken in any attempts to remove or remedy the spine. Any damage done to the spine during surgery could have an even greater impact on everyday life.

The spinal cord controls both voluntary and involuntary movements of the muscles. That means it’s responsible for passing along nerve signals that help you do everything from taking a bite of your cereal to using the bathroom.

Did you know that you also need your spinal cord to sweat? It sends signals from your brain to your sweat glands so that your body can cool down naturally.

What Should You Expect?

If you want to know what will happen in your surgery from beginning to end, check out our breakdowns of the minimally invasive treatments that we offer.

As far as your recovery goes, that depends on what type of back surgery you need.

For a lumbar disc herniation, your recovery time could be as little as a few days. For patients with extensive bone spurs, recovery time could be a few weeks.

Either way, any endoscopic spine surgery should warrant a much faster and less painful recovery period than traditional spine surgery. In fact, non-invasive surgery should have you up and running to your fullest potential by 6 weeks.

Don’t Worry About It

We don’t want you to do anything you don’t have to do. Our goal is to offer patients every single treatment option, starting with the least invasive first. Depending on your condition, this could mean starting with simple things like diet and exercise. 

If you do require endoscopic spine surgery, however, know that many of our surgeries are performed in an out-patient setting. Our goal is to eliminate and at the very least, minimize your pain.

Feel free to ask us a question about any concerns you might have. And if you’re ready for the next step, find out how you can get a no-cost MRI review today.

Kyphoplasty 101: What You Need to Know

You’ve been dealing with back pain for a while. Maybe it started after an injury or incident, or maybe you woke up with it. You finally go see a doctor. They tell you you’ve been walking around with a broken bone in your spine for all this time.

That scenario isn’t as rare as you might think. In fact, around 750,000 people every year get these types of fractures, called vertebral compression fractures.

If you’re one of them, you might find that kyphoplasty is a treatment option. What does that mean? Here’s what you need to know.

What is Kyphoplasty?

Kyphoplasty is a surgical procedure. Its purpose is to stabilize vertebrae, or bones in your spine, that have compression fractures. Stabilizing the vertebrae ends or reduces the pain you’re feeling from the fractured bone moving around.

On top of stabilizing the fracture, kyphoplasty also restores the height of the collapsed vertebra. A compression fracture causes a vertebra to collapse in on itself. This is often the reason an older person develops a rounded back.

How Does Kyphoplasty Work?

Kyphoplasty is a unique and advanced surgery. While you’re under anesthesia, your surgeon makes a tiny incision and places a hollow needle into the center of your broken vertebra.

First, the surgeon uses the hollow needle to insert a medical balloon into the broken vertebra. They’ll inflate the balloon, which creates a gap in the middle of the bone and restores the vertebra to its original height or near the original height.

Next, the surgeon removes the balloon and fills in the gap with a type of bone cement. The bone cement hardens and stabilizes the bone in place at its restored height.

Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgery that uses such a small incision that you can expect little scarring. It’s often performed as an outpatient procedure. In other words, you’re likely to be able to go home the day of the surgery instead of staying in the hospital.

How is Kyphoplasty Different from Vertebroplasty?

As your doctor discusses the options to treat your compression fracture, you may also hear the term “vertebroplasty.” What’s the difference between vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty?

These surgeries are similar because they both aim to stabilize a compression fracture. The difference lies in that height restoration kyphoplasty offers.

During vertebroplasty, the surgeon skips the step of using a balloon to heighten the vertebra. Instead, they inject the bone cement into the vertebra as it is. You get the stabilizing effect but not the restored height.

As an added bonus, kyphoplasty has a lower risk. A rare but possible complication in vertebroplasty is the bone cement leaking into the space around your spinal cord or elsewhere.

With kyphoplasty, your surgeon uses a thicker, less runny form of the bone cement. This lowers the risk of leakage.

While kyphoplasty has its benefits, vertebroplasty is best under certain circumstances. It’s all a matter of your unique condition and which option will give you the best results with the lowest risk.

When Will I See the Results of My Kyphoplasty?

One of the best benefits of kyphoplasty is that the stabilization takes away most or all of the fracture pain. Many people feel the relief right away, while it takes a day or two for others.

It’s important to recognize that while you can expect less fracture pain, you will have some post-surgical pain as you heal. Still, the recovery time for kyphoplasty tends to be minimal.

Most people are back to work and their other daily activities a few days after kyphoplasty. You will, however, need to avoid heavy lifting for a few weeks.

Each case is unique depending on your healing rate, the number of vertebrae your surgeon treated, and other factors. Your surgeon will give you more specific details about the recovery you can expect.

Is There a Way to Prevent Future Compression Fractures?

As much of a relief as it can be to get pain relief from kyphoplasty, it isn’t the end of the journey. It’s important to find out why your compression fracture happened in the first place.

Sometimes a fall or injury will cause a compression fracture. In many cases, though, it isn’t the only factor. Compression fractures may be a sign of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a chronic condition that weakens your bones. It’s more common in women but it happens to men as well. While it often happens as people get older, it can begin at any age.

In addition to your kyphoplasty, you may need to work with a doctor who specializes in osteoporosis. They can evaluate your condition and develop a treatment plan to strengthen your bones. If you follow their instructions, you’ll lower your risk of future fractures.

Am I a Candidate for Kyphoplasty?

As with any medical procedure, kyphoplasty is designed to treat a specific condition. It’s only an option for people whose back pain is caused by one or more vertebral compression fractures.

Not all compression fractures are compatible with kyphoplasty. The surgery is most common for fractures that change the shape of your back.

Kyphoplasty is also most successful for new compression fractures. Your surgeon will be able to take images of your spine to find out it kyphoplasty, vertebroplasty, or other options are best suited to your condition.

Your Next Steps for Kyphoplasty

The idea of surgery can be intimidating, even when the surgery is outpatient and minimally invasive. Still, kyphoplasty has brought relief to patients who thought they’d spend the rest of their lives in pain.

If you’re dealing with a compression fracture and you’ve been told it was untreatable, or if you have undiagnosed back pain, we may be able to help. Schedule your appointment to get answers about your pain and find out your treatment options.