Every year, 460,000 patients undergo spinal fusion surgery. That’s a lot of people! Plus, this statistic doesn’t even cover all the different kinds of spinal surgery.
So, if you’re one of the many thousands of people considering back surgery, we suggest doing your research. You should always investigate the possibility of minimally invasive spine surgery.
In light of this, we thought we’d help you out by detailing the crux of what you need to know about this procedure.
Let’s dive on in.
What’s Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?
Traditional open spinal surgery requires the surgeon to make at least a five-inch incision. Then, any muscle’s pulled away so the surgeon/(s) can get to the spinal bones. Naturally, this causes damage to any surrounding tissue.
In contrast to this, there are several minimally invasive techniques a surgeon could use.
Rest assured, all these methods have one thing in common. Each technique requires the doctor to use a smaller incision. (In comparison to open spinal surgery).
Hence, far less tissue damage occurs.
Let’s Break This Procedure Down
Here’s a simplified overview of what this procedure entails.
Firstly, the surgeon will numb the area by using some form of anesthesia. Next, the doctor will take a continual x-ray of the spine. This allows them to monitor the spine’s condition both before and during the procedure.
Then, the surgeon will make an incision via a device named an obturator. This tool works by pushing the soft tissue away.
The surgeon can then do whatever spinal operation is necessary via this small incision. For example, removing a broken bone, inserting a medical device, repairing damaged tissue, etc. Once the procedure’s over, the surgeon removes the obturator and closes up the incision.
Evidently, this operation is far less traumatic in comparison to traditional spinal surgery.
Typically, this surgery is appropriate for procedures like lumbar decompression and spinal fusion. Spinal decompression aims to relieve any pressure put on the spinal nerves. The surgeon achieves this by removing either sections of bone or a herniated disk.
Spinal fusion focuses on correcting problems concerning the spinal vertebrae. The surgeon will fuse together any painful vertebrae with the intention of these bones healing to form one singular solid bone.
Why You Should Opt for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
As the title of the procedure suggests, this operation’s far less invasive than traditional open-style spinal surgery.
Therefore you could benefit from any of the following:
- Less tissue damage (hence not as much bruising, swelling)
- Not as much blood loss
- You won’t need as much anesthesia.
- Quicker recovery time
- Less scarring
Clearly, this procedure trumps open-style spinal surgery on a lot of levels. So, if you can opt for this method- we recommend doing so.
Are You a Candidate for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?
So are you wondering whether you might be a potential candidate for this kind of surgery?
If you’re unsure, then we’ve put together a few questions to help you figure out whether this might be an option for you.
If you find yourself nodding to any of the below questions, minimally invasive spine surgery may well be the solution for you:
- Do you suffer from any of the following? Spinal stenosis, a bulging or herniated disc, sciatica or any other chronic spinal condition.
- Do you find it difficult to: sleep, exercise or stand for either long periods of time, or just as you go about your daily life?
- Even though you’ve tried treatments such as: chiropractic care, physiotherapy, yoga, pilates or pain medication. Are you still in a lot of pain?
- Have you noticed that even though you’ve had open spine surgery, you’re still in a lot of pain?
If any of those questions resonated with your situation, you may well be a candidate for this procedure!
However, although this operation has come on leaps and bounds over the last few years, specific conditions still require traditional open spinal surgery. For example, high-degree scoliosis, tumors, and some infections.
How Long Does It Take to Recover?
Depending on the severity of your surgery, you’ll typically be discharged the same day.
Also, patients tend to get back to their normal lives in between one and six weeks. This may mean you’ll need to seek assistance from a friend or family member during the immediate aftermath of your surgery.
Be prepared to feel mild discomfort until you’ve made a complete recovery.
Hence, why you’ll probably need to take pain relief drugs in addition to attending physiotherapy sessions. This is standard aftercare for this kind of procedure.
What Are the Risks?
As you probably already know, every surgery involves a degree of risk.
However, the risks linked with minimally invasive spine surgery is a great deal less than any open spinal surgery.
However here’s a list of some of the risks associated with this operation:
- Standard risks of infection (As with any surgery).
- Unpredicted bleeding
- Blood clotting
- Anaesthesia failure
- Nerve damage
However, you can minimize all of these risks by ensuring you opt for a skilled doctor with an excellent track record.
So, make sure you spend some time conducting a bit of research and find a highly qualified and reputable surgeon. Also, you can reduce some of these risks by listening and fully taking on board all the aftercare instructions given by your doctor.
We always recommend following their advice to the letter.
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