Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery – How Does It Work?
Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) is growing in popularity. Patients, having discovered this surgical method, are increasingly seeking it out.
If you’re anticipating surgery for a back condition and have been looking into MISS, you’re exploring the question, “minimally invasive spine surgery – how does it work?”. And you’re probably wondering why it’s suddenly become so popular with patients.
Let’s talk about it!
MISS procedures are renowned for their brief duration, safety and reduced recovery time. Because there’s less physical trauma with this method (muscles and other soft tissue are subject to less interference), there’s also less risk and less recovery time.
Benefits of MISS procedures are:
- Smaller incisions which produce a better post-surgical aesthetic
- Reduced blood loss
- Reduced risk of infection (the leading cause of surgical complications)
- Reduced pain following surgery
- Less rehabilitation
- Reduced recovery time
- Reduced need for post-surgical pain medication
Often, MISS procedures are done as outpatient surgeries, using only local anesthesia. Again, this aspect of MISS reduces risk, as associated with general anesthesia.
All surgeries come with a certain element of risk. MISS procedures offer less of it.
Which Conditions Can Be Treated With MISS?
MISS doesn’t cover everything that can go wrong with your spine but that’s changing every day, as this style of surgery increases its applications. At this point in time, MISS is used to treat:
- Disc herniations
- Degenerative disc disease
- Scoliosis and other spinal deformities
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Infections of the spine
- Spondylolisthesis and other conditions producing spinal instability
- Spinal tumors
- Vertebral compression fractures
How MISS Works
The tiny incision used in MISS interventions is accompanied by other small devices, like cameras inserted via a tube. These guide the work of the surgeon, eliminating the need for larger incisions.
MISS surgeries also employ what’s called a tubular retractor. This device precludes the need to cut through muscle tissue, as soft tissues are progressively dilated, preventing greater exposure of the surgical area.
Once surgery is complete, the surgeon removes the tubular retractor and the tissues which had been dilated to facilitate surgery return to their normal positions.
Placing Rods and Screws
Some MISS procedures require the placement of rods and screws to allow bones to fuse, stabilizing the spine. Open surgeries implicate the removal of tissue (including muscle) from around the surgical area. But with MISS, percutaneous (through the skin) placement of medical hardware avoids tissue removal.
Guided by x-ray imaging, this type of MISS procedure uses guidewires. These are inserted through the skin and into the vertebrae, along the path the screws will take. The screws are placed over the guidewires. The rods are then inserted to secure the screws. To achieve this, temporary extenders are used, which are later removed.
MISS procedures using this type of hardware are also benefiting from the deployment of endoscopic guidance in concert with computer monitors and nowadays, robotic elements. This has led to greater surgical accuracy.
Spine Consult NJ
The team at Spine Consult NJ treats all conditions of the spine, with extensive experience in MISS procedures. Contact us.