What Is Endoscopic Spine Surgery?

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

Spondyloarthritis of the Spine

Surgeons are always looking to match a procedure to the patient based on a number of different factors that maximize the benefits to the patient. Sometimes that involves a minimally invasive procedure, while other times a more standard open operation is the best bet. For others, specialized procedures like laser spine surgery or an endoscopic operation is the right call. The latter procedure – endoscopic spine surgery – is where we aim our focus today. Below, we take a closer look at endoscopic spine surgery and explain why it may be right for you.

The Basics of Endoscopic Spine Surgery

In a traditional spine surgery operation, spinal muscles need to be cut and moved in order to access the surgical site. This means more tissue healing needs to take place following the operation, and it also increases the possibility of complications like blood loss or nerve damage. So when it’s possible, surgeons look for less invasive ways to complete the operation. Enter endoscopic spine surgery.

Endoscopic surgery is performed by creating one small incision in the skin. Through that opening, spine surgeons insert an endoscope, which is a flexible tube with a microcamera attached to it that is navigated to the operation site so that it can relay a live feed of the area to a monitor in the operating room. Small surgical tools are then inserted through the same opening, and the surgeon performs the operation while watching the monitor in the room.

Because of the minimal damage that is made to the soft tissues, the patient experiences:

  • Decreased pain
  • Decreased soft tissue damage
  • Minimal blood loss
  • More post-op spinal mobility
  • Reduced risk or nerve damage
  • Quicker recovery from surgery

Which Procedures Are And Aren’t Right For Endoscopic Spine Surgery?

As you might imagine, endoscopic spine surgery isn’t the perfect option for all types of spinal conditions. Each patient and condition will be evaluated on an individual basis, but some procedures that could be pursued with endoscopic spine surgery, and some procedures that typically aren’t right for an endoscopic approach include:

  • Possible Endoscopic Spine Surgeries – Bone spurs, bulging discs, facet joint disease, spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis.
  • Conditions Not Typically Treated With Endoscopic Surgery – Scoliosis, spinal instability, cancer, significant trauma or revisional spine surgery.

If you’d like to learn more about endoscopic spine surgery, or if you’d like to consult with a spine specialist to see which type of treatment is right for your back pain, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at the Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today.

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