When spine problems develop due to injury, aging, wear and tear or deformity, treatment options should focus on the actual source of the problem with the least amount of interruption to a patient’s life. Medication, physical therapy, bracing or lifestyle changes may successfully treat problems caused by slipped discs, slipped vertebrae or curvature of the spine. For many people, though, surgery may be the best option to treat pain or deformity.
"Open Surgery" vs Minimally Invasive Surgery
The most beneficial aspect of traditional open surgery is the ability to see and access the spine easily. This type of surgery, however, involves long incisions, cutting and removal of muscle from the spine, and considerable post-surgical pain. Due to the large incisions and significant damage to the muscle, open surgery patients may experience long hospital stays, long recovery periods, large scarring and pain that make this type of surgery daunting and exhaustive. Developing procedures that significantly reduce these effects through minimally invasive methods may allow patients to return to regular, active lives with less interruption and pain.
Minimal invasive spine (MIS) procedures allow the surgeon to perform conventional and advanced spine surgery techniques through a small incision, with minimally disruptive effects on surrounding tissues and muscles, producing results that exceed by far the traditional open approaches.
The incision is usually 1/10 the size of the underlying mass. The minimally disruptive microsurgery procedures we perform are usually on “a day surgery” basis (same day release) and certainly always with the shortest hospitalization time possible. They result in less operative trauma, less pain and scarring, no loss of blood, reduces the incidence of post surgical complications and speeds up recovery.
Which are the Minimally Invasive Surgery Benefits?
- Small incisions
- Minimal surgical scars
- Little or no blood loss
- Reduced trauma to the body
- Less post-operative pain
- Fewer complications
- Shorter hospitalization, Faster return to daily activities
- Quicker recovery time
- Reduced risk of infections
The field of minimally invasive spine surgery continues to grow, and most conditions today can be treated with some form of minimally invasive surgery.
For instance: The patient would have a better outcome with a total disc replacement (TDR) rather than with fusion as the need for additional surgery after a fusion at 10 years is as high as 20% whereas with a TDR the risk is only 5%. Moreover, evidence based literature and recent data are showing a better outcome in younger patients when undergoing a total disc replacement when compared to fusion. Long-term results of a laterally placed TDR device demonstrate maintenance of pain relief and functional improvement. The benefits of this technique—minimal morbidity, avoiding mobilization of the great vessels, preserving the Anterior longitudinal ligament, biomechanically stable orientation, and broader revision options—suggest a promising new direction for TDR procedures.
Hospital Stay - 1-2 days with XLIF. 3-5 days with traditional surgery.
Walking - Same day with XLIF. 2-4 days with traditional surgery.
Return to Normal Activities - 4-6 weeks with XLIF. 6 months or longer with traditional surgery.
Blood Loss - Less than 100cc with XLIF. 300-600cc with traditional surgery.