With advancements in technology, minimally-invasive spine surgery, also called MISS, is now a great alternative to traditional open spine surgery. It has numerous benefits, can be used to solve several back problems, and is safer than open surgery. This article will take a more in-depth look at the topics mentioned above as well as describe how MISS procedures are performed.
Instruments will be inserted into the back through a small incision, sometimes as small as one inch long. But instead of cutting through muscle and tissue, as with open surgery, MISS uses retraction tools that go between the muscles and move them to the sides. This creates what's called a tubular retraction system. Through this system, the instruments will bypass the muscles and access the surgical site. A camera is also inserted to project the surgical site on a monitor for the surgeon to see. Other imaging systems such as real-time X-rays and 2D and 3D projections of the patient's spinal anatomy will aid the surgeon to have clear yet remote visibility.
Because MISS is less invasive, it offers many benefits. Less cutting of tissue and muscles results in less scarring, less blood loss, reduced pain, reduced risk of muscle damage, reduced risk of infection, and faster recovery times. And occasionally, MISS has the added benefit of being an outpatient procedure, meaning you don't need to stay in the hospital overnight following surgery.
Most causes of back pain can be fixed without surgery, and surgery should be a last resort. However, when it is needed, MISS is very effective. Spinal surgery is split into two categories: decompression and stabilization. Within these two categories, surgery can resolve numerous back problems such as degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, lumbar spinal stenosis, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, and spinal tumors.
There are risks involved with every surgery. The risks with MISS, though reduced, are the same as that of most other procedures. They include things like bleeding, blood clots, nerve damage, the return of symptoms, and post-op infection.
Your post-op stay in the hospital can last a few hours or a few days depending on your procedure. The first few weeks after spinal surgery are going to be the most painful and you will be focused on managing pain and minimizing movement. Working with a physical therapist will likely be recommended and referred by your doctor. Recovery time will depend on what procedure you have and may take up to a year for more complicated procedures.
During recovery, you may also want to consider a diet with anti-inflammatory foods such as berries, fish, avocado, broccoli, green tea, and turmeric.
Though surgery is a last resort, MISS can be a good option for resolving back problems. Talk to your doctor to see if you would be a candidate for minimally-invasive spine surgery.