Minimally Invasive vs. Traditional Spinal Surgery

Category: Minimally Invasive Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: January 6, 2014

spinal surgery minneapolisMinimally invasive surgical techniques are relatively new in the world of medicine but have truly revolutionized many specialties including spine surgery. As a result some people may be skeptical about its effectiveness and safety compared to more traditional surgical methods. But the truth is that minimally invasive surgeries are better in nearly every way for back surgeries. Here, we’ll give a little background on both types of surgeries and explain why minimally invasive procedures may be the better choice for some spinal conditions.

Traditional Spine Surgery

With traditional back and neck surgeries, the surgeon would have to make a larger incision. This is why traditional back surgery is also referred to as “open” back surgery. This technique gives the surgeon greater access to the internal structures, but that increased access brings with it an increased risk. In any surgery, the shorter an incision remains open the better. The risk of infection or complications increases with each passing moment that a wound remains open.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Minimally invasive back and neck surgery, on the other hand allows the surgeon to make a much smaller incision (usually only an inch or two). Decompressions, disc removal, and even fusions can be performed in a minimally invasive fashion.  With this technique, less muscles and ligaments need to be severed which leads to less scarring and a quicker recovery time. A smaller incision also mean there will be less blood loss and overall less pain after the operation.  This may mean a faster return to work and life.

Is There any Reason at all to have Traditional Spine Surgery?

Yes, there are a large number of conditions, which will require “open” spine surgery including large deformities, scoliosis, tumors, infections and some multi-level conditions. Minimally invasive procedures however may be a better choice for treatment for certain spinal conditions, and many surgeons are now performing these procedures for more complex conditions. The best course of treatment will depend on your unique situation. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.

If you suffer from back or neck pain and non-surgical treatments have failed, it may be time to consider minimally invasive surgery.

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