For many people, the word surgery can be a little worrisome. It might bring up thoughts of pain, medication, scarring, and long-term recovery. For patients who are in need of surgery on their spines, it has historically been a big concern because spinal surgery typically meant that the length of the spine was cut so the surgeon could reach the entire back in order to perform the procedure. Although this type of “open surgery” used to be the only option, minimally invasive spinal surgery is now a viable option for certain patients. It can be performed quickly and safely with the doctors you trust at NewSouth NeuroSpine.
What Is Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery?
Unlike the former style of open spinal surgery which required a 5-6 inch cut down the back, while also having to move the muscle to expose the spinal column, minimally invasive spinal surgery (MISS) can be performed with an incision as small as the diameter of a penny.
When performing open surgery, the muscles of the spine have to be moved, which could result in some unwanted soft tissue damage or a longer recovery time needed in order to be able to get back to normal life. With MISS, that step is removed, with the goal to reach only the spine and not the surrounding area. MISS is performed with a small tool called a tubular retractor. The tubular retractor is inserted into a small incision and creates a tunnel through the muscles in order to reach the problem area. Items like bone or disc material can be removed from the spinal column, or devices like screws or rods can be inserted into the spine through the retractor. After the procedure is finished, the retractor is removed. The entrance site is stitched back up and patients can be out of the hospital in sometimes as few as 24 hours.
What Is The Recovery Time?
As with any surgical procedures, there is a recovery period involved in MISS. Since MISS does not heavily disrupt the muscles and tissues surrounding the spine, there is less pain involved in the recovery. Depending on what the procedure is for and how well the body reacts, recovery time can vary. Many patients benefit from pain medication and physical therapy as well.
As with any surgery or medical procedure, there are many variables that determine whether it’s right for you. Our team at NewSouth NeuroSpine will be able to evaluate each patient’s individual case to determine what the best course of action is. Typically surgery is reserved for when all other treatment avenues have been addressed. Some patients and injuries may need to be treated with traditional surgical methods, while others are perfect candidates for MISS.
If you’ve been dealing with pain and discomfort stemming from a spinal injury or condition, contact NewSouth NeuroSpine today for an evaluation.