A guide to minimally invasive spinal surgery

30 November 2017

If you are suffering from back or leg pain or both and are considering spinal surgery, then you may want to find out more about minimally invasive spine surgery (keyhole spinal surgery)

We can provide a rapid access to some of the most advanced spinal surgical techniques.

What is minimally invasive spine surgery?

Minimally invasive spine surgery involves the use of smaller incisions and fine surgical instruments. The operating microscope and imaging machines help visualise the affected area while using the instruments to perform the surgery. In a traditional spine surgery, longer incisions are made and the muscles are stripped off the bone in order to see the spine. One of the downsides to traditional, open surgery is that the pulling or “retraction” of the muscle can strain soft muscle tissue. Also, the facet joints can be damaged leading to spinal instability. With minimally invasive techniques, these damages are kept to a minimum, helping patients to recover quicker. Most spinal conditions can be treated with minimally invasive spine surgery.

Common conditions causing back and leg pain which can be treated with minimally invasive techniques –

  • Disc prolapse
  • Lumbar canal stenosis
  • Lumbar spine instability
  • Spine fractures
  • Certain spinal tumours

What are the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery?

There are physical, cosmetic, and recovery advantages when you elect to have minimally invasive spine surgery:

  • Lower risk of complications. Small  incisions lead to a lower risk of excessive bleeding and infections at the surgical site.
  • Lower risk of muscle and joint damage. Open surgery involves pulling muscles in the affected area aside while the procedure is done. This can result in muscle and soft tissue damage and a greater amount of pain after surgery. Minimally invasive procedures do not require muscles to be pulled aside to the same degree, leading to a lower risk of damage to the soft tissue around the surgical site.
  • Less pain. Traditional spinal surgery can cause a considerable amount of discomfort afterwards due to the larger incision and higher tissue damage which can be avoided by minimally invasive techniques.
  • Shorter hospital stay. Minimally invasive spinal procedures typically result in significantly less post-operative pain which can lead to shorter hospital stays. Experiencing less pain can also reduce the amount of painkillers that are needed after surgery.
  • Faster recovery time. Less damage and pain lead to faster recovery.
  • Minimise scarring.

While minimally invasive surgery for spinal conditions has important benefits, there are certain factors to keep in mind when considering this type of procedure. Minimally invasive procedures are not suitable for all types of spinal conditions. If you would like to have further discussions around whether minimally invasive spinal surgery would be suitable you may wish to book a consultation with Mr Praveen Inaparthy, Consultant Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon.

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