Minimally invasive spinal surgery, abbreviated as MISS, is a procedure that involves the use of tiny incisions to minimize damage to the surrounding ligaments and muscles of the spine. Surgeons also use MISS technology and techniques to reduce trauma on a patient during the procedure. The small incisions reduce recovery time, potential complications, and pain. Healthcare providers perform a wide range of spinal surgery procedures using minimally invasive surgery techniques. If you are to undergo minimally invasive spine surgery, understanding what to expect can reduce your anxiety. Our minimally invasive spine surgery experts at LAMIS can help you determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure.

The Types Of Maine Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

The common types of minimally invasive spine surgery include the following:


The surgeon can perform a laminectomy to remove the back part of the vertebra that covers and protects a patient's spinal canal. The surgery removes pressure from the spinal cord or a spinal nerve in cases of bone spur, a herniated disc, or a lumbar stenosis.

Your surgeon can perform a laminectomy on any part of the spine using minimally invasive surgery. Individuals with single- or double-level lumbar spine stenosis can return home immediately after the procedure. A laminectomy can treat a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or spinal stenosis.


A foraminotomy is a surgery that involves making a tunnel or foramen in the back where nerve roots leave the spinal canal. A foraminotomy relieves the symptoms of nerve root compression, also called radiculopathy or pinched nerve. The symptoms of nerve root compression can include muscle weakness, tingling, numbness, or pain. Your surgeon can perform this procedure using a minimally invasive approach, which does not require hospitalization. The following are the conditions treatable using a foraminotomy of the spine:

  • Radiculopathy.
  • Sciatica.
  • Bone spur.
  • Pinched nerve.
  • Herniated disc.
  • Foraminal stenosis.

Resection Of Synovial Cyst

During this procedure, a surgeon can remove the synovial cyst and any structures compressing the nerves. Surgeons usually carry out these procedures on an outpatient basis using minimally invasive methods, avoiding the need for fusion surgery in some cases.


A corpectomy is a procedure that involves removing all or part of a vertebra to take pressure off the spinal cord and nerves. This procedure relieves pressure caused by fractures, bone spurs, stenosis, a spinal tumor, or infection in the lower back, mid-back, or cervical area.

The discs below or above the affected vertebra are eliminated with the middle section of the bone. After removing the damaged structures, a surgeon could insert a bone graft or metal prosthesis to keep the spine stable.

Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion is a procedure to permanently join two or more bones in the spine to prevent movement between them. A surgeon could use a graft to fuse the bones. The graft materials used include autograft and allograft. An autograft consists of strips of bone removed from the area of surgery or another part of the body, like pelvic bone. An allograft is cadaver bone secured from a bone bank. Synthetic materials can also be used to make grafts.

Spinal fusion can be approached from the back, side, or front. Several technological advances have allowed surgeons to perform fusion surgery using minimally invasive methods in some cases. Most surgeons carry out a minimally invasive fusion of the lumbar spine from the back as well as the side. These techniques are less invasive and can reduce blood loss and infection rates. Minimally invasive spine surgery also promotes faster healing.

Surgeons fix the vertebrae together to promote proper bony fusion. He/she could do so using plates, screws, rods, or cages to prevent the bones from moving until the grafts recover fully. This is referred to as spinal instrumentation.

Some fusion surgeries prevent spinal flexibility. However, most spinal fusions involve small spine segments and do not restrict motion.

Conditions Treated Using Maine Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Minimally invasive spine surgery is used for various procedures and conditions. You would be a good candidate for Maine minimally invasive surgery if you have any of the following conditions:

Spinal Stenosis

This condition occurs when the spinal cord, the neck, and lower back roots are compressed.

Spinal Tumors

A tumor can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Minimally invasive spine surgery can remove tumors in the spine even if they are not cancerous. Tumors can lead to structural instability in the spine and can cause fractures. Additionally, spinal tumors can exert direct pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots, causing numbness, weakness, or pain.

Spinal Trauma

Spinal trauma can cause damage to muscles, ligaments, and bones. It can also destabilize a patient's spine and spinal cord. Minimally invasive spine surgery is necessary to stabilize the spine and prevent further injury.

Spinal Instability And Spondylolisthesis

This occurs when one vertebra slips in front of another. This could cause severe leg and back pain. Surgeons can correct the condition using minimally invasive spinal surgery.

Spinal Infections Or Osteomyelitis

This infection often occurs in the vertebrae, discs, or the surrounding spine muscles. The infections are treatable, and minimally invasive spine surgery comes in handy to get rid of them.


This is an abnormal curvature of the spine, which decreases mobility and causes pain and heart and lung problems. Minimally invasive spine surgery can be ideal, depending on the degree of the curvature. The surgery helps to realign the patient's spine to improve appearance and resolve shortness of breath, weakness, or pain.

Herniated Discs

This condition normally affects the thoracic, cervical, or lumbar spine. They stem from wear-and-tear changes or trauma. Part of the disc could bulge out of place if a patient has a herniated disc. This could exert pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots, producing numbness, weakness, back and leg pain.

Degenerative Or Arthritic Disc Disease

This is also called wear-and-tear changes in the spine's discs, ligaments, and bones. It can cause numbness, weakness, and back pain.

Congenital Spinal Disorders

Congenital spinal disorders result from genetic or developmental abnormality. These disorders can affect any part of the spine, including the sacrum, lumbar, thoracic, or cervical. Minimally invasive spine surgery can stabilize the spine to allow proper growth.

Compression Fractures

Compression fractures always occur in the lumbar and thoracic spines of old people with osteoporosis. Compression fractures can lead to acute back pain, which could get severe when you stand.

Individuals That Do Not Qualify For Maine Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

People are different, so you must consult your doctor to ascertain whether you qualify for minimally invasive spine surgery. Some factors could limit your eligibility for minimally invasive spine surgery. These factors could include:

Epidural Scarring

If you already have scarring, you are not a good candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery. However, you could be eligible for other surgical alternatives.

If You Are A Smoker

Smoking can affect you in many ways, including increasing the possibility of clotting. Your doctor would request you to refrain from smoking for several months before and after the procedure, if not forever.

Overweight Persons

It is often more risky to operate on overweight patients. There could be complications with recovery, anesthesia, and the operation's long-term success.

Your Overall General Health

Your doctor will ask if you have any pre-existing health problems that could hinder the procedure and your recovery. It is unsafe for you to undergo minimally invasive spine surgery if you have certain medical conditions or are on certain medications.

Your Age Also Matters

Older people might not qualify for minimally invasive spine surgery. Older patients can have a challenge recovering fully from the operation because even less invasive operations come with risks.

How To Prepare For Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Your doctor will instruct you on what you must do in the days and hours before surgery. You should stop smoking, eat a healthy diet, and stay active before the operation to promote optimal healing and a smooth recovery.

Your doctor can ask you to stop taking certain medications to prevent interaction with anesthesia during the operation or prevent excessive bleeding. You should consult your healthcare provider regarding all prescriptions, supplements, and over-the-counter medications that you are taking for your safety.

Minimally invasive spine surgery is an outpatient surgical procedure performed at an outpatient surgical center or hospital. You can be home the same day after the surgery and do not have to remain in the hospital overnight. You should arrange for a family member or friend to provide transportation home because you should not drive right after surgery.

It is also advisable to minimize stress and prioritize good emotional and mental health to reduce the levels of inflammation in the body and help you recover quickly. Your rehabilitation and recovery will be easier if you go into surgery in good health.

Advantages Of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Maine minimally invasive spine surgery has the following advantages:

It Is Ideal For Many Spinal Procedures

Surgeons use minimally invasive spine surgery for diverse spinal issues and injuries, such as:

  • Spinal stenosis.
  • Unstable spine.
  • Fractured vertebra.
  • Certain spinal tumors and deformities, like scoliosis.
  • Spinal fusion.
  • Lumbar discectomy.

When done in a minimally invasive way, the above procedures are outpatient surgeries or require only one to two days of hospitalization.

It Is A Better Surgical Experience For Patients With Chronic Pain, Elderly, And Obese

Obese patients will experience less risk of infection because incisions are so much smaller. Smaller cuts also mean you require less pain medication and management post-surgery. This is important if a patient struggles with pain issues.

You require less bed rest after undergoing minimally invasive spine surgery. In this case, the chances of older people developing dangerous clots in their legs are minimal.

Reduced Chance Of Infection

When incisions are made, there is a risk of surgical site infection. However, patients who undergo minimally invasive procedures are less likely to develop an infection because of smaller and fewer incisions.

Faster Recovery

The patient's body undergoes fewer traumas during minimally invasive surgery. Therefore, the recovery period is shorter than conventional spinal surgery.

Less Painful Recovery

Surgeons use specialized tools to perform minimally invasive spine surgery. Some of the tools used include an operating microscope and an endoscope. These tools enable the surgeon to see the patient's surgical site in real time without cutting through and moving muscles and tissues.

The tool used to view the patient's surgical site is equipped with a camera and a bright light, which sends close-up images of a patient's spinal tissues to a video screen. The surgeon's devices to perform the procedure fit through the thin, long tubes inserted through the patient's incisions. The tubes give the surgeon the access he/she requires to the patient's spine to perform the procedure. It eliminates the need for a long incision. Tiny incisions mean the patient experiences less painful recovery, especially after the anesthesia wears off.

Smaller And Fewer Incisions

Unlike open surgery, a surgeon makes only one or two very small incisions while performing minimally invasive surgery. The smaller incisions help the surgeon to gain access to the surgical site. Traditional surgery requires a larger incision to allow the surgeon to access the patient's spine.

Risks Associated With Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Like any surgical procedure, Maine minimally invasive spine surgery carries inherent risks. The risks vary depending on several factors, including the skill of the surgical team, the patient's health, and the type of spine surgery.

Some common risks related to minimally invasive surgery include:

Failed surgery

Minimally invasive spine surgery can fail to achieve the desired outcome despite the best efforts of the surgical team. This could lead to frequent pain or other symptoms that require additional treatment or revision surgery.

Failure Of Instruments

At times, hardware like plates, rods, or screws used to stabilize the spine could become dislodged or fail, requiring revision surgery.

Blood Clots

A patient's prolonged immobility during and after the procedure increases the risk of developing blood clots. The blood clots can travel to the lungs or other parts of the body, posing serious health risks.

Find Maine Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Services Near Me

If you have a spinal condition that causes you chronic pain or discomfort, you should seek the help of an experienced spine surgeon. Your surgeon will consider whether you are a good candidate for Maine minimally invasive spine surgery. If you need high-quality, minimally invasive spine surgery, contact LAMIS. Call us at 310-734-6088 to speak to one of our spine surgeons.

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