Minimally invasive spine surgery, also referred to as less-invasive spine surgery, is process where a spine surgeon uses specialized instruments and surgical technique to access the spine of the patient through drastically smaller incisions. The benefits of minimally-invasive spine surgery can range from accelerated healing, minimized risk of muscle and skin tissue damage, limited blood loss, enhanced cosmetic results, reduced risk of postoperative pain or infection, and reduced dependence on pain medications after surgery.
Through highly specialized tools and computer assisted technology, minimally-invasive spinal surgery is often an ideal option for more patients that need surgical intervention given their condition. Often what makes the surgery so highly-sought after is the minimal incision and streamlined surgical process.
Options for Minimally-Invasive Spine Surgery
While Dr. Rover, your board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon in New Jersey, will work with you determine the best course of treatment, there are a number of options or types of minimally-invasive spine surgery. Some of the types of minimally-invasive spine injury that Dr. Rover specializes in includes:
- Robotic Spinal Surgery: This type of surgery mitigates the risk of any screw misplacement. Robotic spine surgery involves the use of the Mazor Renaissance Robot which is specially engineered to stays help control certain surgical provisions with greater efficacy and accuracy.
- Disc Replacement/Motion Preservation Surgery: This is a surgical procedure used to replace discs in the spine that have undergone damage over time. As a result, patients can experience pain relief and better range of motion.
- Spinal Fusion: Spinal fusion is a specialized type of minimally-invasive spine surgery that joins together two or more bones permanently in the spine so that there is absolutely no movement between them.
Minimally-Invasive Spinal Surgery Techniques
There are three main techniques that support the art of minimally-invasive spinal surgery:
- Tubular: This procedure is performed with specialized tools known as tubular retractors. A small incision is made during the procedure, and the tubular retractor is infused through the patient’s skin and soft tissues deep down to their spinal column. This in turn creates a tunnel to the area where the tissues exists in the spine. Any devices imperative for fusion like, rods or screws are infused through the retractor, and any disk material or bone that is removed also exists through the retractor.
- Mini-Open: This procedure involves a very small incision, less risk of infection, and less blood loss. Advances in technology and visualisation has made this technique possible.
- Robotic: Robotic spinal surgery techniques can dramatically increase the precision of screw placement to an accuracy of 1mm. As a result, this not only reduces the risk for misplacement, but also minimizes the patient’s pain and recovery time. Using robotic spinal surgery techniques also lowers the risk for post-operative complications.
For patients considering any of the above spine surgery procedures, they must understand that each case is accessed and considered individually, and they must consult a reputable orthopedic spine surgery to determine what may be appropriate treatment options for them (often after all non-operative procedures have been exhausted.)
Furthermore, it is imperative to remember that all these procedures are not completely without risk. They may involve risks such as, blood clots, allergic reactions, anesthesia complications, and adverse effects due to medical problems like heart problems. During the treatment, the surgeons may also have to switch to an open surgery in case circumstances demand.