Not all back and neck problems can be treated effectively with Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS), but if surgery is necessary this advanced technique offers advantages for many patients. Two fairly common procedures that can be performed this way are Lumbar Discectomy and Lumbar Fusion. In these procedures, a small incision of about 1” (as opposed to traditional or “open” surgical incisions of about 5-6”) is made over the damaged disc. In a Lumbar Discectomy, muscle and tissue are gently pulled out of the way exposing the spine below. A small piece of the lamina bone is removed, which provides access to the damaged disc below it. The damaged disc is then removed and is replaced with bone graft material. A Lumbar Fusion is performed similarly, though not identically. And, after removing the lamina and disc, surgical screws and rods, along with bone graft material are used to permanently fuse together the vertebrae above and below where the disc had been removed.
These Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. Either general anesthesia (you are asleep for the procedure) or regional anesthesia (you are awake though have no sensation below the waist) is used, depending on your circumstances. The procedures themselves usually take about 60 minutes.
You will be able to go home following the procedure. Minimally invasive procedures have quicker recovery times, due to the small incisions and limited cutting of muscle and tissue. Physical therapy is typically part of your recovery and rehabilitation plan, and will begin as promptly as you are able. Risks and side effects of these procedures are minimal and we will discuss them, along with any concerns you may have prior to treatment.
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