Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Because minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS), does not involve a long incision, it avoids significant damage to the muscles surrounding the spine. Typically, this results in less pain after surgery and a faster recovery.
The indications for minimally invasive spine surgery are the same as those for traditional open surgery. Spine surgery is usually recommended only when a period of nonsurgical treatment — such as medications and physical therapy — has not relieved the painful symptoms caused by your back problem. In addition, surgery is only considered if your doctor can pinpoint the exact source of your pain, such as a herniated disk or spinal stenosis.
There are numerous minimally invasive techniques. The common thread between all of them is that they use smaller incisions and cause less muscle damage. Minimally invasive techniques can be used for common procedures like lumbar decompression and spinal fusion. Decompression relieves pressure on spinal nerves by removing portions of bone or a herniated disk. Spinal fusion corrects problems with the small bones of the spine (vertebrae). The basic idea is to fuse together the painful vertebrae so that they heal into a single solid bone. This article focuses on decompression and spinal fusion with a minimally invasive technique.
For a complete overview of spinal fusion including approaches, bone grafting, complications, and rehabilitation: Spinal Fusion.
Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) is sometimes called less invasive spine surgery. In these procedures, doctors use specialized instruments to access the spine through small incisions.
In a traditional open surgery, the doctor makes an incision that is 5 to 6 inches long, then moves the muscles to the side in order to see the spine. With the muscles pulled to the side, the surgeon can access the spine to remove diseased and damaged bone or intervertebral disks. The surgeon can also easily see to place screws, cages, and any bone graft materials necessary to stabilize the spinal bones and promote healing.