When it comes to traditional open-back surgery, the complications and disadvantages are much greater than that of minimally invasive spine surgery procedures. There is the potential for significant blood loss, greater risk of infection and long hospital stays that can last up to a week. It also increases the potential to damage normal tissues as the surgeon must cut or move healthy muscles and soft tissue out of the way to access the spine. Minimally invasive spine surgeries offer patients an alternative to the invasive nature of traditional procedures. First performed in the 1980s, minimally invasive spinal surgery (MIS) was introduced to offer patients less disruptive and less painful surgical solutions for many spinal disorders. The field continues to make rapid advances and allows Dr. Shibayama to be among the most experienced spine surgeons to treat an ever-evolving list of spinal disorders.
So, what are the benefits of a minimally invasive spine surgery?
Minimally invasive techniques allow for outpatient procedures. This means a faster return to a normal lifestyle. The disruption to muscles and surrounding tissue is greatly reduced which means patients experience less post-operative pain and are able to begin their rehabilitation sooner.
In a study published in 2017, minimally invasion spine surgery was compared to conventional open back surgery. The first part of the study of 52 patients showed MIS (minimally invasive surgery) patients had significantly less blood loss and less back pain on postoperative day two. In the second part of the study involved 79 patients found that they had significantly less postoperative drainage and shorter postoperative recovery time (40 days vs. 76 days).
Traditional spine surgery involved making incisions that were multiple inches in length. However, a minimally invasive procedure uses advanced surgical techniques that reduce multiple incisions to roughly 1-inch—which means no big scars. It also means patients experience no cutting of the muscles, minimal bleeding and no brace following surgery.
Minimally invasive spine surgery is less expensive. Because most of these procedures can be done in an outpatient setting, patients are able to avoid costly hospital fees and overnight stays. Further, patients are able to return to work sooner.
In a study presented in 2018, 6,569 cases from February 2012-December 2017 were evaluated and of those cases, 86.07 percent reported returning to their usual occupation at the postoperative follow-up.
What happens during minimally invasive spine surgery?
Orthopedic spine surgeons rely on specialized instruments and tubes that allow access to the spine through smaller incisions. The microscopes allow for magnification and exacting precision during the surgery.