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Traditional spine surgery is performed as “open surgery,” which means that the area is opened using a long incision so the surgeon can access the spine and surrounding elements. Medical advancements have brought about minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) that avoids making such a large incision and prompts easier recovery.

What is it?
This less invasive procedure allows surgeons like Dr. Charla Fischer at NYU Langone in NYC to use special instruments to gain access to the damaged area of the spine through small incisions, compared to the 5-6 inch long incisions with traditional surgery. During open surgeries, muscles are pulled aside to see the spine, which can cause trauma to nearby muscles and tissues. MISS does not require as much manipulation of muscles and the surgeon is able to focus on the exact location of the spine that is affected.

Who are good candidates?
As with traditional spine surgery, MISS is only recommended after more conservative treatments have not been sufficient, such as physical therapy or medications. If Dr. Charla Fischer is able to pinpoint the source of your pain and you have not had success with other methods, surgery may be your best course of action. If MISS techniques can be employed to resolve your back or neck problem, Dr. Charla Fischer will offer you that surgical option.

What are the benefits?
There are a number of reasons patients prefer MISS over open surgery. These include:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Less damage to muscles and tissue
  • Lower risk of blood loss
  • Reduced risk for infection
  • Less pain after surgery
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Faster recovery

What are some common minimally invasive procedures?
Some procedures that Dr. Charla Fischer often performs using MISS techniques include lumbar decompression, lumbar discectomy, spinal fusion, and cervical foraminotomy/discectomy. These are just a few of the types of surgeries that benefit from MISS techniques.

What about recovery?
With shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times, many patients are thrilled with MISS procedures. Most patients stay in the hospital for 3-5 days with traditional surgery, but only 1-2 days with MISS. Dr. Charla Fischer at NYU Langone can usually manage your pain well after going home since this technique normally causes less discomfort. Physical therapy may be recommended as you recover. With proper care, you should be on the road to recovery after MISS.

Contact Dr. Fischer today to learn more about treatment options.