Minimally invasive spine surgery is a technique that is used for a wide range of spine procedures. It replaces the need for the more traditional open surgery as an alternative when possible.
Due to technological advances and a list of significant advantages, minimally invasive surgical techniques have been commonly used for spine surgery since the 1990s.
A main characteristic of MISS is that it does not involve a long incision, such as open surgery. Open surgery typically includes a five- to six-inch incision, as opposed to MISS, which requires an incision of only about two centimeters, less than an inch. With MISS, the traditional movement of muscles and soft tissues (and even possible removal of some tissue) surrounding the spine is avoided. In MISS, the surgeon can work around those structures, thus leaving them intact and with a lower risk of damage.
Minimally invasive spine surgery is performed in the following way.
When applicable over open surgery, MISS provides the following benefits:
A number of studies have produced positive results for MISS. For example, a 2017 study found that in a comparison of MISS and open surgery for treatment of lumbar spondylolisthesis by transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), MISS showed such advantages as a reduction in surgery time, blood loss and hospital stay, as well as improved functional outcomes.
In another article, according to a position by an expert at the Cleveland Clinic, the author states that while further studies are needed, evidence continues to mount demonstrating perioperative benefits of MISS over conventional spine surgery. Of course, this depends on the customized and careful diagnosis in the use of MISS for the individual patient.
While not all spine surgeries are appropriately done with MISS, the following is commonly and successfully performed using this method:
Read more in our guide to treatment and surgery for spine disorders.
Post-surgical pain, although minimized, is to be expected. This pain can be relieved even with over-the-counter pain medications. A patient’s healthcare provider helps with post-surgical pain management.
According to the Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery the recovery from MISS varies, depending on the procedure(s) that have been done, and a patient’s overall health. The Society estimates that in general terms, MISS over traditional (open) surgery cuts a hospital stay by one half.
For various recovery times a patient may expect the following:
At Advanced Neurosurgery Associates, our specialized spine specialist Dr. Vivek Ramakrishnan is uniquely qualified as one of a handful of neurosurgeons with training in both neurosurgery and orthopaedic spine surgery. He is part of our locally and nationally recognized practice, where we are renowned for our expertise and compassionate care. Contact us today to make an appointment discuss spine surgery.