Minimally Invasive Surgery, or “keyhole” surgery, is a type of surgery performed using a thin, telescope-like instrument called an endoscope. The endoscope is connected to a tiny video camera and is inserted through small incisions to give surgeons an inside view of the patient’s body. In addition, small surgical instruments can be inserted through the small incisions to perform the surgery.
Using cuts of only an inch or less in length, surgeons access the spine using small tools called retractors, which are placed into the tiny incision and through soft tissues to the designated spot on the spine. Any bone or disc material removed comes through the retractor, and any devices necessary for fusion procedures – which fuse together painful vertebrae so they heal into a single, solid bone – are also inserted through this space. Since such a small incision is used, the surgeon doesn't have to move, remove or alter major muscles, normal bone structures, or nerve bundles.
Compared to traditional open spine surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery offers a lot of advantages. Since it is less invasive, the patient has faster recovery times and can go home in a few days after hospitalization. In fact, the average hospital stay for this procedure is less than 2 days. Moreover, the patient suffers from less post-operative pain and less scarring. But more importantly, this type of spine surgery reduces the soft tissue damage, particularly on the muscles. This makes the procedure less risky especially when it comes to blood loss and infection.
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS) is a broad term covering several different surgical approaches, but all are designed to access the spinal column while avoiding substantial damage to the surrounding tissue that occurs during open surgery. Patients require much less anesthesia during minimally invasive surgeries or even can be treated with analgesic sedation, so the patient is conscious during surgery and the surgeon is able to see directly the patient's reaction to possible pain.
Minimally invasive spine surgery speeds up recovery time due to smaller incisions and less blood loss. Many patients are able to return back to work within a few weeks.
Because minimally invasive spine surgery utilizes much smaller incisions compared to traditional surgery, the chances of infection or other complications are lowered.
Multiple studies show that minimally invasive techniques have equal or better outcomes than open surgery, especially when performed by a skilled and knowledgeable surgeon.
Patients undergoing minimally invasive spine surgery report experiencing less pain than traditional surgery because their muscles and other anatomy are less disturbed.
Minimally invasive spine surgery minimizes damage and tearing of the muscle and ligaments surrounding the spine, reducing patient trauma levels and improving the surgical experience.
Open spine surgeries typically leave noticeable scars on the back. Minimally invasive spine surgery, on the other hand, significantly cuts down on scarring and other tissue damage.
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