A minimally invasive spine surgery is a surgical procedure option provided by spine surgeons to their patients who have back or leg pain, bone spurs, spinal stenosis, numbness and weakness, spondylolisthesis, facet joint disease, sciatica, bulging and herniated disc, and scoliosis among others. This spine surgery procedure uses advanced computer-assisted endoscope allowing patients to have less painful surgery, smaller incision and faster recovery. Compared to traditional open back surgery, patients will benefit more if they have the endoscopic spinal surgery. As in any other surgery, certain risks are also present. But for minimally invasive procedure, there are more benefits that outweigh the risks. Hence, more and more patients are choosing to have the less invasive surgery over the traditional surgery.
When patients undergo minimally invasive spine surgery using endoscope, they are less exposed to infection because of the microscopic incision made in order to insert the endoscope through the skin to reach the damaged part of the spine. And because it is minimally invasive, anesthesia given is mostly local (not general anesthesia). Also, there is no blood loss, or in case that there is, it’s very minimal. The procedure may be done as outpatient. Hence, patients can be sent home hours after the surgery. Recovery requires less time and there is minimal need for pain medication. Less invasive procedures like endoscopic spinal surgery have higher success rates and allow the patient an improved quality of life since the spinal mobility is preserved.
This type of spine surgery uses an endoscope – a small surgical instrument that is inserted into the body, computer-guided for accuracy and precision of movement, on patients that seek repair or treatment of the bone in the spinal column. In endoscopic spine surgery, the technique achieves the same results as the traditional open back surgery. The difference lies on how the spinal column is accessed. With traditional open back surgery, larger incision is made to allow a hand to properly reach the target spinal column, which in turn can cause infection on the surrounding muscles and tissues.
Spine surgeons use the word “endoscopy” to mean “looking inside”. The endoscopic instrument is attached with a small video camera that captures the images or appearance of the inside of the body. A typical endoscope usually has a flexible or rigid tube. It can be inserted through a small incision. The instrument also has a light delivery system that helps illuminate the area while the instrument travels through the skin. The video camera has a lens system that transmits the captured image to the projector or monitoring screen where the spine surgeon can have a better and magnified view of the body part.
A spinal condition that is usually treated by endoscopic spinal surgery is a herniated disc. It pinches the nerve that is causing the pain on the back and leg called sciatica. The pain caused by a herniated disk can be debilitating. Hence, if non-surgical treatment procedures did not improve the symptoms or remove the pain, surgical options like open back surgery or the minimally invasive spine surgery becomes the necessary alternative.