Minimally Invasive Surgery Vs. Traditional Spine Surgery

April 7, 2022

Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) is a surgical procedure conducted on your spine to solve problems you may have with your back. Surgeons usually make a small incision about 1 – 2 inches long on your lower back during the surgical procedure. They then use specialized equipment (tubular retractor and a special operating microscope) to access your spine.
The tubular retractor is used to gently push aside your tissues and muscles, creating enough space for the spine surgeon to access the problem area on your spine. The special operating microscope provides your surgeon with real-time x-ray images of your back and spine.
On the other hand, traditional spine surgery is a surgical procedure where the surgeon has to make a 5 – 6 inches long incision on your lower back to access your spine. The surgeon then moves your muscles and soft tissues aside to access the diseased area and fix it. The process may involve the removal of some of your tissues.

How Is A Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery More Beneficial than Traditional Spine Surgery?

The main difference between minimally invasive spine surgery and traditional spine surgery is the impact each surgical procedure has on a patient’s body and health. MISS was created mainly to solve some of the health issues caused by traditional spine surgery. Below are some of the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery.

  1. The amount of blood loss during the procedure is low.
  2. There is a reduced risk of injury to your muscles and other parts of your spine.
  3. Reduced recovery time and shorter hospital stays.
  4. Since back muscles are rarely overstretched during minimally invasive spine surgeries, the risk of postoperative disabilities is reduced.
  5. There is less pain due to little to no cutting of the muscles and surrounding soft tissues.
  6. There is a low risk of infection since the surgical incision made is small.
  7. Less pain after the operation means patients don’t have to rely heavily on pain medication

Conditions Treated Using Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Minimally invasive spine surgery is used to correct problems with your back. And since not all back problems can be fixed using surgery, your physician will only recommend spine surgery when it’s necessary. Below are some of the medical conditions that require MISS to fix.

  • Spine infections
  • Herniated disc
  • Deformities like scoliosis
  • Spondylolysis (defect in your lower vertebrae)
  • Tumor removal from your spine
  • Spinal stenosis (a narrow spinal canal)
  • Fractured vertebra

Complications Associated With Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Like any other surgical procedure, there are several complications you’re likely to face after a MISS procedure. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you and your physician carefully explore measures you can take to avoid these complications before the procedure. Below is a list of these complications.

  1. Possible allergic reactions to local or general anesthesia.
  2. Unexpected excessive blood loss – You should expect some blood loss during the procedure.
  3. Development of infection – You should receive antibiotics prior to, during, and after the procedure to lower infection risk.
  4. Possible blood vessel or nerve damage – Under the knife of an experienced surgeon, these complications are rare.
  5. Formation of blood clots in your legs – This is another rare complication that’s likely to cause health problems for you if the clots reach your heart.
  6. Pain – Some patients have reported experiencing pain in the area around the bone graft site.

How To Prepare For Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

The best way to prepare for a MISS procedure is to ask for the help of your healthcare provider. If you’re taking any medication, whether prescribed by a doctor or over-the-counter medication, you should inform your physician. You might be required to stop taking some medicines before the procedure. A good example of drugs you’ll need to stop taking before the procedure is blood thinners.
If you’re a smoker, you’ll need to quit smoking, even if it’s for a few days. Smoking affects the amount of time you need to heal completely. And if you’d like to quit smoking completely, you can ask your physician for help. You should also inform your physician if you experience any changes in your health condition.
Before your procedure, your healthcare provider may be required to conduct X-rays, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of your back.
Your healthcare provider will also recommend that you avoid eating or drinking after midnight of the night before your MISS procedure.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Recovery time varies from one patient to another and depends on the type of MISS procedure the patient underwent. However, in general, some patients leave the hospital on the same day as their surgery and others stay for 1 or 2 days.
The stay time in a hospital is significantly shorter when compared to patients who’ve undergone open surgery. Traditional spine surgery patients stay in the hospital for about 3 to 5 days.
To help you speed up your recovery and help your body recover its strength, your health care provider might recommend physical therapy for you. However, physical therapy depends on the MISS procedure you underwent and the physical condition of your body. Your physician can also recommend specific exercises to help you return to your daily routine as fast as possible. You will also need to follow all the instructions your physician gives you carefully.
The possibility of you resuming your daily activities will depend on your physical condition and recovery speed. Only your health care provider can give you the go-ahead to resume your normal life.
Since the first minimally invasive spine surgery procedure was first performed in the 1980s, the field has been rapidly evolving as technological advancements continue. And as a patient, you need to experience the best care under the hands of experienced spine surgeons. Therefore, if you have any questions about the MISS procedure, don’t hesitate to call us. Or you can visit our website and learn more

Dr. Juris Shibayama,
300 StoneCrest Boulevard #300 Smyrna Tennessee 37167,
615 267 6600

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In Short Words

Dr. Juris Shibayama is an orthopedic surgeon in Smyrna, Tennessee and is affiliated TriStar StoneCrest Medical Center. He received his medical degree from University of Illinois College of Medicine. He did his orthopedic residency training at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, FL. He then completed a one year fellowship dedicated exclusively to spine surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL. He has been in practice 13 years.

© 2022 | Juris Shibayama, M.D., Orthopedic Spine Surgeon