Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

12 Dec, 2021

Minimally invasive spine surgery (MIS) refers to procedures that stabilize the spinal joints and vertebral bones and/or alleviate pressure applied to the spinal nerves, which is typically due to conditions like bone spurs, spinal instability, scoliosis, herniated discs, or spinal tumors. Compared to open spine surgery, minimally invasive surgical approaches tend to be safer, faster, and have shorter recovery periods. Read on to learn more about minimally invasive spine surgery and what conditions are usually optimal for this approach.

Benefits and Risks 

Due to the reduced trauma to the soft tissues and muscles (compared to open procedures), potential benefits include:

  • Less blood loss from surgery
  • Improved cosmetic results from smaller skin incisions (can be as small as a few millimeters)
  • Lower risk of infection and postoperative pain
  • Lower risk of muscle damage since there is less or no cutting of the muscle
  • Speedier recovery from surgery and less rehabilitation necessary
  • Less reliance on pain medications post-op

Moreover, certain MIS surgeries are outpatient procedures and only utilize local anesthesia, lowering the risk for an adverse reaction to general anesthesia. However, there are certain risks associated with any surgical procedure, no matter how minimal, which include:

  • Unexpected blood loss
  • Potential adverse reaction to anesthetic
  • Localized infections, no matter how small the incision area is

While uncommon, there remains a small chance that the initial MIS surgery is unable to be completed and necessitates a second procedure or even full open surgery. 

Conditions Commonly Treated With MIS Procedures

Some conditions that may be treated through MIS procedures include:

  • Herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal deformities such as scoliosis
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Spinal infections
  • Vertebral compression fractures
  • Spinal instability, including spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal tumors

How Does MIS Work?

Since the vertebrae, spinal nerves, and discs are positioned deep inside the body, gaining access to the spinal area always involves moving muscle tissue out of the way. This is usually done through employing a small incision(s) and guiding microscopic video cameras and/or instruments through the incisions. It is a common misconception that lasers are used in MIS surgeries, as they are rarely utilized. There are many methods used to reduce trauma during MIS surgery, including:

  • Using a tubular retractor
  • Direct lateral access routes
  • Percutaneous placement of screws and rods
  • Thoracoscopic access route

Common MIS Surgery Treatment Options

There are many different techniques specifically created for MIS surgery, which continue to evolve. Some of the most common MIS surgery treatment options include:

  • Spinal decompression
  • Discectomy
  • Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)

Who Is A Candidate For MIS Surgery?

Your doctor will let you know which MIS surgeries, if any, may be a good choice for treating your specific spinal condition. Depending on the individual circumstances, MIS surgery may not be as effective or as safe as traditional open surgery. Your doctor or specialist will let you know the relative benefits and risks of different treatment options. Moreover, there are certain conditions that are not completely treatable through MIS surgery.

Contact Us Today

MIS surgery may be an option for certain candidates. The Spine and Scoliosis Center is a top spinal clinic with several offices around Florida. Call the Spine and Scoliosis Center to schedule an appointment today.


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