Historically, spinal surgeries were performed using “open” techniques. Open surgery describes a process that involves larger incisions that may be several centimeters long. The incisions provide access to the internal structures on which surgery is performed. Over time, this manner of surgical performance has evolved into protocols that are less invasive. Now, minimally invasive techniques are employed whenever possible. Here, we discuss what minimally invasive spine surgery is and when a surgeon may recommend it.
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS)
Minimally invasive spine surgery is characterized by the use of special instruments to reach the exact area of the spine to be treated. A surgery may be carried out through tiny incisions through which a small tube is inserted. This tube can provide visual access to the surgical field and can also facilitate the safe insertion of surgical hardware as needed. Because surgical steps are more localized, there is less trauma to surrounding tissues and a greater degree of precision.
Minimally invasive surgical techniques offer significant benefits, such as a lower risk of infection and expedited recovery. This method of surgical intervention may be advisable when the source of pain can be isolated.
Common conditions that are treated with minimally invasive spine surgery include:
- Herniated discs. In between the bones that make up the spinal column (the vertebrae) are cushiony discs that have a tough outer rim and a softer, gel-like center. A herniated disc is characterized by damage to the outer rim that allows the inner material to protrude outward.
- Lumbar spinal stenosis. Stenosis describes the narrowing of the openings between vertebrae in the spine. Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs in the low back, causing nerve compression and pain.
- Degenerative disc disease. This common spinal condition involves the progressive deterioration of the spinal discs, usually related to aging. Spinal stenosis and herniated discs result from degenerative disc disease.
- Vertebral compression fractures. This condition, in which a vertebra collapses partially or fully, is often related to osteoporosis. However, a spinal fracture may also result from a traumatic injury such as a fall or automobile accident.
Consult with a Spinal Specialist in New Jersey
Princeton Neurological Surgery has offices in Bridgewater, Hamilton, and Morristown. Dr. Lipani is recognized as one of the top brain and spinal surgeons in the country, having performed over 4,000 complex and minimally invasive cases. For more information on our services, contact us at 609-890-3400