Minimally invasive spine surgery versus open spine surgery: What’s the difference?
The words "spine surgery" may inspire a chill — it sounds serious a little scary and like it will mean a long recovery. It's the 21st century though and like many areas of medicine new alternatives to traditional procedures are giving patients less cause for anxiety.
Compared to traditional spine surgery minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) uses a much smaller incision to access the surgery site and may incorporate robotics and other technology to improve precision. All this adds up to a safer procedure and a faster recovery. If you need to have spine surgery you might be able to have MISS instead of traditional open spine surgery.
How is MISS performed?
At Reid Orthopedic Center Dr. Hon Vien D.O. is a spine surgeon with expertise in minimally invasive spine surgery. He is the only surgeon in the region who uses the Mazor robotic surgical system which can maximize surgical accuracy to 99 percent for some procedures. This precision can lower the chance of pain after surgery and increase the chances of long-term success.
"MISS is actually a philosophy" explains Dr. Vien. Its goal is minimal trauma during access to the spine for surgery. This means that less of the soft tissue that surrounds your spine will be disrupted compared to what happens in traditional open surgery.
What are the benefits of MISS?
For the patient especially a patient who must fit spinal surgery into a busy life the benefits of minimally invasive spinal surgery over open spine surgery are significant says Vien. Often the surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis but if it can't your hospital stay will usually be shorter. Because of the smaller incision there is less risk of muscle damage. Recovery is often faster with less pain. There is less blood loss during the surgery and a lower risk of complications afterward.
Is minimally invasive spine surgery right for you?
You'll want to ask your doctor if you can have MISS. There are many factors involved in this decision including the specific details of your condition as well as whether a surgeon experienced in MISS is available to you. There are many conditions for which minimally invasive spine surgery is often an option.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons these include
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated disc
- Scoliosis and other spinal deformities
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Spinal infections
- Spinal tumors
- Vertebral compression fractures
- Spinal instability
Minimally invasive spine surgery can be a safe and effective alternative to traditional open surgery. You'll likely have an easier recovery need less pain medication and be able to return to your busy life sooner.