Unlike traditional spine surgery, minimally invasive surgery requires smaller incisions and causes less damage to tissue and muscle. The spine, discs, spinal nerves, and vertebrae are all located beneath layers of tissue and muscles. Therefore, accessing the spine requires complicated cutting procedures and extensive maneuvering. With minimally invasive spine surgery, less cutting is required due to the advanced tools and robotics. At LAMIS, we provide reliable New Mexico minimally invasive spine surgery at an affordable cost.
Who Needs Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?
Minimally invasive spine surgery allows surgeons to stabilize your spine, joints, discs, and nerves without opening up your thoracic chamber. These are the same goals as conventional open-back surgery. Our minimally invasive spine surgery achieves the same results as conventional surgery but without causing damage to the muscles and tissues in your back.
The leading benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery are:
- Faster surgery
- Less trauma and risk of muscle damage
- Fewer complications
- Less blood loss
- A shorter recovery period
- There is less damage to the skin since the surgeon only makes tiny incisions.
- A lower risk of infection
- A reduced or no need for pain medication
- Less rehabilitation and physical therapy are needed
Conditions Treated With Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Our New Mexico minimally invasive surgery would come in handy for any of the following conditions:
- Compression fractures — This condition mainly occurs in the thoracic and lumbar spines of older patients suffering from osteoporosis. Compression fractures can result in acute back pain. The pain tends to get worse when you stand.
- Degenerative/arthritis disc disease — Degenerative disc disease and back pain are also known as wear and tear. Pain, numbness, and weakness can result from changes in the bones, discs, and spine ligaments.
- Congenital Spinal Disorders — These spinal disorders can occur due to a developmental or genetic abnormality. They can affect any part of the spine (thoracic, cervical, sacrum, and lumbar). Minimally invasive spine surgery can stabilize the spine to facilitate proper growth.
- Herniated Discs — herniated discs mainly affect the thoracic, cervical, or lumbar spine. The condition can stem from trauma or wear and tear. With a herniated disc, part of the disc can bulge out of place, putting pressure on your spinal cord and root nerves. This pressure can lead to leg weakness, pain, and numbness.
- Spinal Infections/Osteomyelitis — An infection can develop in the vertebrae and the surrounding spine muscles. While most infections can be treated with medication, you might need surgery to eliminate the infection.
- Scoliosis — Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine that can lead to discomfort and decreased mobility. Sometimes, scoliosis can also cause lung and heart problems. The degree of the curvature will determine whether you need surgery. Our New Mexico minimally invasive spine surgery can realign your spine, improve appearance, and resolve pain, muscle weakness, and shortness of breath.
- Spinal trauma — Spinal trauma can cause damage to your bones, muscles, and ligaments and destabilize your spine and spinal cord. Surgery can stabilize your spine and prevent further injuries.
- Spinal Instability and spondylolisthesis — Occur when one vertebra slips in front of another, causing severe leg and back pain.
- Spinal stenosis — Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal cord and the roots in your neck or lower back are compressed.
- Spinal tumors — Spinal tumors can be malignant or benign. Even if a tumor is non-cancerous, it is important to have it removed to ensure that it does not cause structural instability in your spine, leading to fractures. A spinal tumor can also exert pressure directly on your spinal cord nerves, leading to weakness, pain, and numbness.
Some back conditions do not qualify for minimally invasive spine surgery. Your physician or healthcare professional will review the available treatment options.
Minimally Invasive Surgery vs. Open Surgery
In conventional open surgery, the surgeon makes an incision that could be 5 to 6 inches long. The surgeon then moves the muscles to the side to reveal the spine. After pulling the muscles to the side, your surgeon will:
- Access your spine to remove the damaged or diseased bone and intervertebral discs
- See where to place the bone graft materials, including screws and cages necessary to stabilize your spine and enhance healing.
One of the significant drawbacks of open surgery is the retraction or pulling of the muscles, which can damage both the muscles and the surrounding soft tissues. Even if retraction aims to enable the surgeon to identify the problem area, it usually affects a larger area than the surgeon requires.
With open surgery, there is a greater potential for muscle injury. A patient is more likely to experience pain after open surgery, although the pain experienced during recovery is different from the back pain experienced before surgery. Open surgery has a longer recovery than minimally invasive spine surgery. An extensive incision and soft tissue damage can increase the risk of blood loss or infection.
Minimally invasive spine surgery seeks to treat spine problems with less injury to the muscles and spine structures. It enables the surgeon to view only the area where the problem exists.
What To Expect
If you have booked a New Mexico minimally invasive spine surgery, you could wonder what to expect. Before you undergo surgery, your surgeon will explain what to expect. Every type of minimally invasive spine surgery is different. The surgery will likely take one to two hours to complete. The steps followed during surgery will vary depending on your condition. This is what to expect:
- During surgery, your surgeon makes a tiny incision in your back and inserts a retractor through the skin and soft tissues to access the spinal column. The tubular retractor provides a tunnel to the treatment site in the spine. The tubular retractor keeps the muscles open instead of cutting them.
- The surgeon will access your spine using tiny instruments inserted through the center of the tubular retractor. Any bone or disc material that the surgeon removes exits through the retractor. The surgeon inserts all the necessary devices for fusion, including screws and rods, through the same incision.
- Your surgeon will be guided by fluoroscopy to see where to place the incision and insert the tubular retractor. This method will display real-time X-ray images of the patient's spine. The images are displayed on a screen where the surgeon can see them throughout the surgery.
- The tubular retractor will be removed at the end of the procedure. The doctor will return the muscles to their original position. This will limit muscle damage that is common in open surgeries.
- General and regional anesthesia are common types of anesthesia used during New Mexico minimally invasive surgery. With general anesthesia, you will be asleep throughout the operation. With regional anesthesia, you will be awake, but you will be numb from your waist down.
Endoscopic Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
As new minimally invasive spine surgery techniques continue to evolve, some surgeons now use an endoscope to access the treatment site in the spine. An endoscope is a tiny camera similar to the one used in shoulder and knee surgery. In an endoscopic surgery, the doctor makes two 7-mm or 1-cm incisions to access the spine. Water can be used for better spine visualization, enabling the surgeon to see and address the issue using magnification. Surgeries like discectomies, laminectomies, and fusions are performed using this technique.
The Complications of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Like with any treatment, some potential risks are associated with minimally invasive spine surgery. Some risks associated with minimally invasive spine surgery are similar to those associated with open surgeries. However, some surgeries show a reduced risk of infection with minimally invasive surgery. Before surgery, your doctor discusses the risks involved and the measures that can reduce the risk of complications. The potential complications of minimally invasive spine surgery are:
- Infection — Patients receive a dose of antibiotics before, during, and after surgery. Antibiotics help to reduce the risk of infection.
- Pain at graft site — Some patients experience pain at the bone graft site. The pain will improve with time.
- Bleeding — It is normal to experience mild bleeding after surgery. However, the bleeding should not be significant.
- Recurring symptoms — Some patients experience recurrence of the original symptoms. You should contact your surgeon if this happens.
- Nerve damage — During minimally invasive spine surgery, blood vessels or nerves can be damaged. However, this complication is rare.
- Pseudarthrosis is a condition where there is inadequate bone formation and the spinal fusion fails to heal completely. If this happens, you would need a second surgery to achieve a solid fusion. The patients at the highest risk of pseudarthrosis are those who smoke.
- Blood clots — The formation of blood clots in the legs, a condition known as deep vein thrombosis, is a likely complication of the surgery. A blood clot poses a significant danger if it breaks off and travels to the lungs. The good news is that blood clots are rare in minimally invasive spine surgeries.
Recovery After Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
How long will recovery take after a New Mexico minimally invasive spine surgery?
Unlike open-back surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery shortens your hospital stay. In some cases, the surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis. The required hospital stay varies from patient to patient, depending on individual procedures. In general:
- Most patients go home the same day after a minimally invasive surgery, while some patients remain in hospital for 1 to 2 days
- Patients who undergo traditional back surgery remain in hospital for 3 to 5 days
Minimally invasive spine surgery does not disrupt your soft tissues and muscles. In addition, the post-operative pain associated with minimally invasive spine surgery is less than the pain resulting from open back surgery. However, even with minimally invasive back surgery, you should expect to experience mild discomfort. With advances in pain control, your doctor can manage and relieve your pain.
Doctors recommend physical therapy after surgery to speed up recovery and help patients regain strength. The specific exercises will depend on your physical condition and the affected part of the spine. With physical therapy, you can regain the strength to return to work and resume your daily activities.
If you had a fusion procedure, it could take several months to solidify your bone. However, your comfort level improves much faster. During the recovery period, you should maintain your spine in proper alignment. Your physician will advise you on how to move correctly, reposition your back, stand, sit, and walk.
The time to return to work after New Mexico minimally invasive spine surgery depends on the individual procedure. After surgery, your doctor will review you periodically to ensure your recovery progresses as required.
Here are some important considerations during the recovery period:
- In the first one to two days after surgery, you should avoid showers
- Avoid baths for one month after surgery
- Do not lift heavy objects for one month or more after surgery
- Do not engage in strenuous work for one month or more after surgery
The Success Rate Of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Minimally invasive spine surgery has gained immense popularity because it is easier on the patient. It is also safer than open-back surgery, yet it is highly effective. This surgery could be preferred over open surgery because the success rates are similar, and the potential risks are lower. People treated with minimally invasive surgery record fewer side effects and can resume normal activities faster.
The Cost Of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Minimally invasive spine surgery can be costly. The costs will vary depending on where you are, your chosen medical facility, and any other recovery expenses. However, minimally invasive surgery is cheaper than open back surgery because your stay in hospital will be shorter. If you have health insurance, the insurance can cover some of the costs.
Find Reliable New Mexico Minimally Invasive Surgery Near Me
The popularity of minimally invasive spine surgery has grown in the last two to three decades. This is mainly because the approach minimizes tissue damage and yields similar results to open surgery. If you need treatment for back pain and other related issues, you should consult a surgeon experienced in minimally invasive spine surgery. LAMIS offers reliable, minimally invasive spine surgery in New Mexico. Contact us at 310-734-6088 to speak and get started.