Whether it’s caused by an injury, a degenerative disease, or other conditions affecting the spine, spinal pain can have a significant impact on your overall quality of life. It can be one of the most difficult conditions to live with.
Thanks to advances in medical technology, spine surgeons can now perform minimally invasive spinal surgery (MISS) to treat spinal conditions.
Let’s discuss minimally invasive spine surgery, some common spine conditions that can be treated with this advanced surgical technique, and where you can go to determine your suitability for minimally invasive spinal surgery in Colorado.
Understanding Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery
Spinal surgery is typically recommended when conservative treatments like physical therapy or pain medications fail to alleviate symptoms caused by spinal conditions. Traditional open spine surgery involves making a large incision, which often results in significant blood loss and a lengthy recovery period.
Minimally invasive spinal surgery, on the other hand, uses advanced technology to perform the procedure through small (keyhole) incisions. The spine surgeon uses specialized tiny surgical instruments and an endoscope—a thin tube with a light and camera attached—to view and operate on the affected area.
Compared to open surgery, a minimally invasive approach leads to less tissue damage, reduced blood loss, shorter hospital stays, and quicker recovery times.
Common Conditions Treated with Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery
Several spinal conditions can be treated using minimally invasive spinal surgery, including the following.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Disc degeneration or degenerative disc disease is a common spinal condition that occurs when spinal discs wear down and lose their cushioning properties, causing chronic pain and impaired mobility.
MISS offers a range of procedures to treat this condition, including endoscopic discectomy and spinal fusion. During these procedures, surgeons use small instruments that cause minimal tissue damage, thus minimizing the chances of post-operative complications.
Herniated discs occur when the cartilage between the vertebrae weakens or becomes damaged, causing the inner disc to bulge out. This condition puts pressure on the nearby spinal nerves and can cause pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in the affected area.
Minimally invasive spinal surgery, like discectomy, can be used to remove the damaged part of the disc and alleviate the pressure on the nerves. The procedure only requires a small incision, resulting in less pain and a faster recovery period.
Spinal stenosis is characterized by the narrowing of the spinal canal, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. This can cause a wide range of symptoms, such as pain, tingling, weakness, and loss of balance.
MISS, such as laminectomy or laminotomy, can be used to remove the excess bone causing the narrowing, allowing more space for the spinal cord and nerves. This procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia.
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine that can cause pain, stiffness, and discomfort. Traditional spinal surgery for scoliosis involves making a long incision and removing several vertebrae to straighten the spine.
However, MISS can be used to correct the curvature of the spine without the need for a long incision. The surgeon will use a small camera and specialized surgical tools to access the deformed spinal area and straighten the spine. This approach to scoliosis treatment is less invasive and results in fewer complications and a faster recovery period.
Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition that occurs when a vertebra (plural: vertebrae) slips out of its position onto the vertebra beneath it.
The resulting compression of the spinal cord and nerves can cause excruciating back pain and radiating pain to the legs.
Minimally invasive spinal decompression is performed to treat this spinal instability. Shorter hospital stays, less scarring, and fewer post-operative complications are among the benefits.
Spinal fractures often result from trauma, osteoporosis, or a tumor. Depending on the severity and location of the fracture, minimally invasive procedures like vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty can stabilize the spine and provide pain relief.
For example, kyphoplasty is commonly used to treat spinal compression fractures. This procedure involves inflating the balloon to restore the height of the spine and then injecting bone cement into the vertebral body.
Spinal Tumors and Infections
Minimally invasive spinal surgery (MISS) can be used to treat a variety of spinal tumors and infections, including metastatic spinal tumors, primary spinal tumors, and spinal infections.
MISS for spinal tumors and infections results in less pain, shorter hospital stays, and reduced blood loss and risk of complications.
Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery in Colorado
Minimally invasive spinal surgery offers many benefits, but it’s not suitable for everyone. It’s crucial to have a detailed discussion with your spine surgeon about the potential risks and benefits applicable to your specific condition.
At Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery, we regularly perform minimally invasive spinal surgery procedures, such as lumbar fusion, lumbar decompression, kyphoplasty, and posterior cervical foraminotomy. Our surgeon performs a thorough assessment to determine the best treatment option for your unique spinal condition.