Minimally Invasive SurgeryTreatments
Since the 1990s, advances in medical technology have made possible an alternative to traditional open surgery, which requires a large incision and a subsequent difficult recovery period. Smaller, noninvasive incisions mean that minimally invasive surgery avoids the kind of muscle damage along the spine that occurs during open surgery.
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Minimally invasive spine surgery is a blanket term used to categorize many procedures aimed at correcting chronic pain where other measures have failed.
Benefits of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
- Quicker return to active lifestyle
- Less pain
- Smaller incisions
- Less tissue damage than open surgery
Conditions and Symptoms Treated
Many conditions, which used to require open surgery, may now be addressed through minimally invasive or endoscopic surgical techniques. Some of the common conditions that can be treated include:
- Bone Spurs
- Bulging Disc
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Facet Joint Syndrome
- Herniated Disc
- Pinched Nerve
- Spinal Stenosis
How to Prepare for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Different minimally invasive surgical procedures may have requirements regarding preparation. While your doctor will give you specific directions on preparing for surgery, here are a few things to expect:
- Pause Certain Medications – Avoid blood thinning medications or any drug that may increase your risk of bleeding during surgery. You should speak with your doctor about all medications you’re currently taking to prevent any complications with the anesthesia or the procedure itself.
- Fasting – Don’t eat after midnight on the day before surgery. You’ll need to fast up to 12 hours before surgery, so check with your physician for their specific instructions on food.
- Plan a ride home – You should probably have someone drive you to the clinic, and you’ll definitely need a ride home, as you won’t be able to drive after you’re treated.
What to Expect During the Procedure
In general, minimally invasive procedures begin with preparing the area with local anesthetics. Once you’re ready to be operated on, an orthopedic surgeon will make one or two small incisions and use a small tube or needle, potentially an arthroscope, to get a visual on the surgical area to move forward. The physician will then use a laser or other small instrument to repair or remove damaged tissues or bone. Once the procedure is complete, you’ll likely receive stitches to close the surgical wound.
Once the doctors finish, you’ll be kept for observation for a few hours to a couple of days then released into the care of your family or a friend.
How Long Does Recovery Take?
Depending on which procedure is performed, you can expect to be back home on the same day as the procedure. In some cases, you may need to stay in a hospital overnight. You will likely experience less pain than open surgery because minimally invasive surgeries don’t cause as much tissue damage. Pain management methods are also more effective today than ever before. Minimally invasive surgery usually means a quick recovery. For many, the return to an active lifestyle takes about 4-6 weeks.
Depending on the type of spinal surgery you have undergone and the extent your condition, physical therapy may be needed to help with your rehabilitation and to prevent a relapse into a pain-causing condition. Your doctor will give you guidelines as to when you can return to work and other more strenuous activities.
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Did you know?
over 87 million people suffer
from back pain
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