Spinal surgery is often the last resort for patients experiencing severe spinal conditions. However, traditional spinal surgery is no longer the only option available to address spinal conditions and injuries – minimally invasive spinal surgery (MISS) is gaining popularity as a more effective and faster procedure.
While both procedures aim to treat spinal conditions, they differ in several aspects, including recovery time, safety, and effectiveness.
Here’s a basic understanding of traditional spinal surgery and minimally invasive spinal surgery.
Traditional Spinal Surgery
Traditional spinal surgery, also called “open surgery,” involves making a long incision on your back to reveal the area that needs to be operated on. The surgeon will then move your muscles aside to get to the spine.
Traditional spinal surgery is a great way to see and access your spine. Some of the conditions that spine surgery can treat include herniated discs, fractures or dislocations, scoliosis, and spinal stenosis.
Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery
Minimally invasive spinal surgery (MISS), on the other hand, uses advanced technology to treat spine conditions without causing extensive damage to the surrounding tissues.
Spine surgeons make small incisions and use tiny specialized surgical instruments, guided by real-time imaging techniques, to reach the affected areas of the spine.
Comparing the Techniques
The main difference between the two surgical approaches lies in the size of the incision and the degree of tissue trauma.
In open surgery, large incisions and muscle retraction may lead to significant post-operative pain and slow recovery. However, it provides a wider field of view for the spine surgeon, which can be beneficial in complex cases.
On the other hand, MISS requires smaller incisions, which preserves muscle integrity. Patients who undergo minimally invasive spinal surgery experience less post-operative pain, fewer complications, and faster recoveries.
Risks and Benefits of MISS and Traditional Spine Surgery
Like all surgeries, both traditional and minimally invasive spinal surgeries carry risks and benefits. However, the risk and benefit profiles differ between the two methods.
Open spine surgery involves pulling muscles and tissues away through larger incisions up to 6 inches long. It allows for better visibility and access to the area under treatment.
Studies show that open surgery is more effective for complex cases and severe spinal conditions that require extensive tissue manipulation and correction.
On the other hand, MISS uses cutting-edge tools, smaller incisions, and muscle-sparing techniques, resulting in reduced blood loss, shorter hospital stays, fewer complications, and faster recoveries.
Open surgery potentially offers more comprehensive treatment; however, it may lead to significant blood loss, increased post-operative pain, and a longer recovery period.
The limitations of MISS are mostly patient-specific, meaning not everyone can undergo minimally invasive spinal surgery. For example, patients with debilitating pain, spinal instability, obesity, diabetes, or osteoporosis may not be good candidates for this approach.
Which Procedure is Right for You?
Choosing between traditional spinal surgery and minimally invasive spinal surgery comes down to a patient’s condition, age, and overall health.
Your spine surgeon will need to evaluate your unique case, determine what’s causing your spinal condition, and recommend the best course of treatment. However, in most cases, minimally invasive spinal surgery is the preferred procedure over traditional spinal surgery, as it offers several benefits.
Spine Surgeon in Lone Tree, Colorado
If you’re experiencing spinal pain that is not getting better with conservative treatments like medications and physical therapy, visit our board-certified spine surgeons here at Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery to determine if you are a candidate for spinal surgery.
Our spine surgeon will perform a comprehensive assessment to pinpoint the underlying cause of your spine pain and recommend the most suitable surgical approach. We also guide you at each step of surgical procedures so that you are well-informed and comfortable throughout the process.
To learn about the types of procedures we offer or set up a consultation with one of our outstanding spine surgeons, call us today at (303) 790-1800 or fill out our convenient online appointment request form.