How Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeries Are Done

With advances in spinal surgeries, minimally invasive surgery is now an option for many spinal conditions including degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, spinal instability. With small incision, the shorter recovery, reduced pain, less blood loss and shorter surgery time, many people experiencing back pain that has not been relieved with non-surgical treatments are considering minimally invasive spinal surgery, or MISS.

If you are like most people, however, you may wonder what is involved, how is it done and is it right for you?

The procedure used will largely be determined by the best access for your condition. The surgeon may approach the area of the spine to be treated from the front (anterior), from the back (posterior) or from the side (laterally).

The technique used may include:

  • Tubular retractor
  • Percutaneous access
  • Direct lateral access
  • Thorascopic access

A tubular retractor uses a special device that allows progressive dilation of the soft tissues, as opposed to cutting directly through the muscles, to keep the muscles out of the way. This technique provides direct visualization of the operative area. With technical advancements, many spinal conditions are being treated using this system including herniated discs, lumbar and cervical stenosis, synovial cysts, lumbar instability, trauma, and even some intraspinal tumors have all been treated through tubular retractor system.

Percutaneous means through the skin, and depending on your condition, percutaneous access allows placement of devices, such as rods and screws, to stabilize your spine or to immobilize the spine to facilitate fusion of the spinal bones.

Direct lateral access uses a small 3 cm (1 inch) incision to allow direct access to the vertebra from the side using tubular retractor and instruments to allow image guidance for removal of degenerated disc tissue, or bone.

Depending on your condition, anterior access from the front of the spine may be

the best approach, avoiding disruption of the back muscles altogether. Your doctor will be able to tell you which MIS surgeries, if any, might be an option for treating your spinal condition. In some situations, MIS surgery may not be as safe or effective as traditional open surgery. If so, your doctor will be able to inform you about the relative risks and benefits. In addition, there are some conditions that are not truly accessible with MIS surgery.

At Dr. Michael Gomez’s Office, we specialize in minimally invasive spine surgery because of the many patient benefits, we are most concerned that you get the best treatment for your condition, your lifestyle and your preferences. We are happy to review your MRI and discuss your options and answer all your questions to ensure you get the best treatment for you.

To find out more, please see these related blog posts: (link to the series on MIS)

  • 10 questions you should ask about surgery
  • 5 benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery
  • Is minimally invasive spine surgery right for me?

Or call 786-456-4152.