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Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery: Benefits, Risks And Conditions For Treatment

By on January 19, 2013
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Back and neck pain are cause by a host of different conditions, often times ignored and hoped to go away without going for treatment. In such situation, the condition worsens and pain becomes intolerable and that’s when doctors are sought for diagnosis and treatment. Many of these back and neck pains can be diagnosed and treated by neurosurgeons. For conditions which have not been treated by non-surgical ways such as pain medication, bracing or physical therapy, neurosurgeons may recommend surgical procedures to correct and address the problem.

There are two surgical options for spine disorders. One is through the traditional open back surgery which requires large incisions which most often than not present the patient some serious risk to infection. And the other one is through minimally-invasive surgery where small incisions are made to allow passage of an endoscope with a camera attached to it, to reach the target area in the spine to be treated, replaced or removed.

Less Invasive Spine Surgery
Unlike the traditional open back surgery, less invasive spine surgery is an endoscopic procedure that makes use of a specialized video camera and endoscope inserted in the chest, back or abdomen of the patient to get through the spine and perform the procedure.

This technique has been used for many years, not for treatment but only to help in diagnosis. It wasn’t until in the early ‘80s when endoscopic or minimally invasive techniques have been used for both diagnosis and treatment. The less invasive techniques evolved and improved to allow treatment for spine disorders.

Minimally invasive spinal surgery or MISS is a keyhole surgical procedure performed under local anesthesia and powerful circulating pain killers which controls pain and permit surgical intervention and allowing the patient to communicate to guide the surgeon to locate the source of pain. This increases the success of the surgery and allows management which is not possible if the patient is under general anesthesia.

Alongside the development of minimally invasive spinal surgery, advances in technology have allowed spine surgeons to provide treatment for an array of spinal diseases such as herniated disc, tumors, degenerative disc disease, fractures, deformity, instability, and infections.

Benefits of MISS
Less invasive spinal surgery was developed to treat spine disorders with less damage or disruption to the healthy muscles surrounding the area to be operated on. With only small incisions, healing of the wound is faster and the risk for infection is less. The fact that there are no large incisions, the procedure can be performed as an outpatient, eliminating the need to stay in the hospital for a long time. Depending on the procedure, the patient can stay in the hospital for a maximum of 2 days.

Minimally invasive spine surgery also gives better outcome as a result of accurate diagnosis and more precise treatment of the source of pain. With the aid of imaging system, spine surgeons are able to precisely locate the areas to be treated or corrected. In addition, patients are able to return to normal activities a lot faster than the traditional open back surgery.

There are also fewer complications because minimally invasive spinal surgery is more selective and requires minimal intervention unlike a traditional open back surgery. Nerve damage is also avoided due to the use of local anesthesia instead of general anesthesia. There is also less trauma for the patient as blood loss is lessened during surgery. There are no large scars, only small scars. There is decreased need for postoperative medication because the small incision wounds heal fast.

Surgery General and Specific Risks
As with any spinal surgery, there are general risks which include blood clots, allergic reaction, bruising, anesthesia reaction, damage on blood vessel, bleeding headache, death, incision problems, infection, need for follow-up surgery, pain or discomfort, pneumonia, paralysis, spinal fluid leakage or stroke. Adverse reactions to the anesthesia, post-operative pneumonia, blood clot in the legs or deep vein thrombosis which may travel to the lungs or pulmonary thrombosis, infection at the site of surgery and blood loss during surgery are some of the common general risks of spine surgery.

Spine surgery has specific risks which include the risk of nerve injury or spinal cord injury that could result in pain or even paralysis. In some rare cases, the procedure cannot be completed and may require a follow-up surgery.

Conditions Treated by MISS
Some of the conditions treated using minimally invasive spinal surgery procedures include herniated disc, spinal deformities, degenerative disc disease, lumbar spinal stenosis, spina infections and instability and vertebral compression fractures.

Other Types of MISS
There are other minimally invasive surgical procedures for treating spine conditions and these include:

  • Decompressive Laminectomy. This procedure eliminates pressure by wear and tear of the spine, herniated disc, injuries or tumors.
  • Microdiscectomy and Percutaneous Discectomy. This procedure is used to remove herniated disc material that is causing pressure on the nerve root or spinal cord,
  • Selective Endoscopic Discectomy  (SED). This less invasive surgery is used to treat protruded or herniated, extruded or degenerative discs which can cause leg and back pain.

Spinal Fusions. This procedure joins two or more of the small bones that comprise the spinal column. Patients with slipped, herniated discs, abnormal curvature of the spine or scoliosis, and injuries.

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Cedric Loiselle is a highly talented writer providing quality articles for a wide range of niches including health and fitness, as well as business and finance.

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