Instead of the significant open incisions involved in traditional spinal surgeries, minimally invasive spine surgery uses a specialized tool called a tubular retractor in order to reach the precise area to be treated—this is a hollow tube that’s inserted through a small incision. It allows the surgeon to visualize and access the targeted area while causing less trauma to the surrounding tissue and muscles. Surgical instruments and any necessary surgical hardware such as screws or rods can be inserted through the retractor and the entire procedure is guided by fluoroscopy—a type of real-time x-ray. This allows the spinal surgeon to meticulously repair and treat the affected area with great precision.
Minimally invasive spinal surgery is only considered if conservative therapies have failed to provide successful outcomes, and only if your doctor can pinpoint the exact source of your pain, such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. In cases where the exact source of pain can be isolated, the benefits are substantial. The smaller incision means less damage to the muscles around the spine, reduced risk of complications during surgery, fewer complications post-surgery, and faster recovery times.
Not all types of spinal surgery can be performed with minimally invasive techniques. In some cases, traditional surgery or nonsurgical techniques may still be recommended as the primary treatment option.
An experienced spinal specialist should determine the most appropriate type of surgery for your needs, but some of the conditions minimally invasive spine surgery may be used to treat include:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated discs
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Spinal instability
- Vertebral compression fractures
ProOrtho is home to leading spine specialists in Western Washington. Our spine experts are dedicated to pioneering new approaches to minimally invasive surgery techniques and have many years of experience with treating the most complex spinal conditions.
To connect with a spinal specialist to learn more about your treatment options and whether you may be a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery, schedule an appointment at ProOrtho.