Facing the decision of undergoing spine surgery is one of the biggest decisions you can make. It is a significant step toward regaining your quality of life, especially if earlier treatments have failed to improve your symptoms.
As a patient, you are likely presented with two options: minimally invasive spine surgery and traditional open spine surgery. Each approach comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Below, we talk about some pros and cons for each technique.
Pros of Traditional Open Spine Surgery
Open surgery of the spine involves pulling muscles and tissues away from the spine to access the surgical site. It also requires larger incisions measuring up to 6 inches long to fully access and get a clear view of the problem.
There are some studies that show the greater effectiveness of traditional open surgery in providing leg and low back pain relief from lumbar disc herniation. For complex cases that require extensive tissue manipulation, open surgery may be recommended. The unobstructed visibility allows for precise manipulation and correction of spinal structures. A wider availability of traditional surgical tools are also at the disposal of the surgeon, which gives open spine surgery versatility.
Open surgery may also be recommended to treat highly complex and severe spinal conditions and spinal deformities requiring extensive correction and remains necessary in certain situations.
Cons of Traditional Open Spine Surgery
The disadvantages of traditional open spine surgery are often mentioned in comparison to the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery, some of which include:
More Tissue Disruption
Traditional open surgery involves larger incisions and more tissue disruption, which may lead to greater postoperative pain, longer operating and recovery times, and more scarring and bruising.
Dependence on Pain Medication
Greater pain and a longer recovery period from traditional spine surgery increases the risk of dependence on pain medication, some of which may come with serious side-effects.
Extended Hospital Stay
Due to the larger incisions and greater tissuetrauma, patients who undergo traditional open surgery often have longer hospital stays due to complications that could arise from the surgery.
Pros of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Minimally invasive spinal surgery involves the use of cutting-edge tools, smaller incisions, and muscle-sparing techniques. Spine surgery has been transformed due to the wide use of this technique, as more and more conditions can be treated with a minimally invasive approach.
Spinal fusion, kyphoplasty, laminectomy, artificial disc replacement, and microdiscectomy as just some of the procedures that can be performed with a minimally invasive approach.
Some of the advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery include:
One distinction of minimally invasive spine surgery is the use of smaller incisions. These incisions may offer the benefits of less tissue disruption, less bleeding, and minimal scarring. Smaller incisions also decrease the risk of infection and promote quicker healing. Studies show that patients who undergo minimally invasive surgery have a shorter postoperative recovery time and return to work and activities faster.
Another distinction of minimally invasive procedures is the muscle-sparing techniques surgeons use, as they tend to go around the muscle instead of cutting the tissue or pulling it back. The goal is to create less trauma to optimize the patient’s healing and recovery.
Less Postoperative Pain
Minimally invasive techniques are associated with less postoperative pain due to the smaller incisions and avoidance of disturbing healthy tissue. One of the biggest advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery is the reported less reliance on pain medication, which also contributes to lowering the risk of complications.
Cons of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Patients should be carefully assessed for their eligibility for minimally invasive spine surgery. Patients with debilitating pain, spinal instability, obesity, diabetes, or osteoporosis may not be good candidates for the procedure. The limitations of minimally invasive spinal surgery are mostly patient specific.
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery in Lone Tree, Parker, Colorado Springs, Aurora, and Castle Rock
Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery combines orthopedic spine surgery and neurosurgery to bring you comprehensive care for your spinal condition. Our surgeons are trained in the use of the latest techniques in minimally invasive spinal surgery and are committed to giving you the best outcomes from treatment.
To find out if you are a good candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery, call our office today at (303) 790-1800 or use our online request form.