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Conditions that Respond Well to Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Conditions that Respond Well to Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Traditional spine surgeries were performed using “open” techniques.  These procedures involved large incisions, dissection of back muscles, increased risk of infection, and a long recovery period.  Today many spinal conditions can be treated using Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS).  Incisions are much smaller, and special surgical instruments are used.  The following are some of the benefits MISS offers for the patient.

Advantages of Minimally Invasive Techniques

  • Reduced operative time
  • Less soft tissue damage
  • Smaller, less painful incisions
  • Less blood loss
  • Less risk of infection
  • Reduced hospital stays
  • Faster recovery

The following conditions respond well to minimally invasive spine surgery.

Spinal Stenosis

"Spinal stenosis. The top view (left) shows the superior articular process of the inferior vertebra, the inferior articular process of the superior vertebra, and the narrowed spinal canal. A side view (right) shows a damaged intervertebral disc with a loss of disc height and narrowed lumbar vertebrae (top) and a normal disc.(bottom)."

Stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal that can compress the spinal cord or nerves.  Stenosis is generally a degenerative condition and may result from bone spurs, osteoarthritis, or other problems.  It is common in the low back and neck.  Surgery involves widening the area of the spine where the compression exists.  The back part of the bone, or lamina, is removed to make more space and relieve pressure on the affected nerve.

Herniated Disc

"A herniated (slipped or ruptured) disc, side (top) and top (left) views. Shown is a ruptured.disc (with the nucleus coming out of the annulus) pushing into the spinal canal, leading to pressure on the spinal cord and root nerve."

Spinal discs are the rubbery cushions between vertebrae.  When a disc herniates, a tear allows the gel-like center to leak out.  This can occur in any part of the spine but often affects the neck or low back.  A herniated disc may press on a nerve, causing weakness, pain, tingling, or numbness in the area affected by that nerve.  The damaged part of the disc is removed in a discectomy.

Vertebral Compression Fracture

Traumatic Spine Fracture and vertebral injury medical concept as a human anatomy spinal column with a broken burst vertebra due to compression or other osteoporosis back disease as a 3D illustration.

A compression fracture occurs when part of a vertebrae collapses.  The fracture may be the result of osteoporosis or a spinal trauma such as a fall, sports injury, or auto accident.  These fractures often occur in the middle part of the spine and cause pain, loss of mobility, and eventual loss of height.  Two minimally invasive procedures, vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, can be done to stabilize and support the fractured bone.  Both involve the injection of a special bone cement.

Pedicle Screws

Pedicle screws can be implanted to add extra support and strength to a spinal fusion.  The screws prevent movement and allow the bone graft to heal.  Minimally invasive surgery protects surrounding muscles and tendons.

Mini-Open Approaches

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) and Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) can be performed with a mini-open approach, a hybrid between open and minimally invasive surgery.  Atlanta Brain and Spine Care developed the retractor system widely used today in PLIF procedures.

Next Steps

Many spinal conditions will not require surgery.  There may be other non-surgical options for the patient to consider that will strengthen the back and reduce pain.  The physicians at Atlanta Brain and Spine Care are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of spinal conditions.  Contact us today for an appointment.

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