Spine surgery does not have to be as scary today as it was before advances in technology have brought about minimally invasive surgery techniques. This type of surgery avoids the traditional method of making large open incisions to access the spine. Newer technologies allow surgeons like Spine surgeon Dr. Charla Fischer in New York City to use specialized tools to perform even the most complex procedures through much smaller incisions. This provides numerous benefits to patients undergoing many different spine surgeries.
Some of the greatest benefits of minimally invasive spine surgeries include:
- Smaller incisions: incisions are typically only about one inch long
- Less trauma to surrounding tissue: smaller cuts mean less damage to tissue in the area
- Less blood loss: less damage to the body means reduced blood loss, which is much safer for patients during and after surgery
- Less scarring: obviously with smaller incisions there is less scar tissue left behind
- Shorter hospitalization: usually patients are able to go home sooner after minimally invasive surgery
- Quicker recovery: less overall trauma to the body allows it to heal faster and patients can resume their normal lives sooner
Dr. Fischer performs a number of types of spine surgeries using minimally invasive techniques. Some of these are:
- Herniated disc removal: A herniated or ruptured disc that presses on nerve roots along the spine can be extremely painful and debilitating. Laminectomies and discectomies are often performed to remove the damaged disc and relieve pressure.
- Spinal fusion: Sometimes discs are just too damaged to remain, so surgeons remove a disc between vertebrae and then fuse the two vertebrae together using bone grafts or metal plates secured with screws. This is often a last resort type of procedure, but it is made easier for patients through minimally invasive techniques.
- Compression fracture: Often related to osteoporosis, compression fractures can occur along the spine. Bone cement is applied to the damaged area in order to strengthen the vertebrae. These procedures are called kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty.
- Artificial disc replacement: An alternative to spinal fusion, surgeons can remove a damaged disc and replace it with a synthetic disc. The goal is to eliminate pain and allow normal movement.
- Spinal stenosis decompression: Numbness, weakness, and pain are common symptoms of a narrowed spinal canal due to stenosis. A spinal laminectomy or spinal decompression is performed to enlarge the spinal column and eliminate any obstructions that are pressing uncomfortably on nerves.
If you are experiencing back pain, schedule a consultation with an experienced surgeon such as Dr. Fischer to learn more about treatment and whether minimally invasive surgery is right for you. You may be pleasantly surprised that surgery is something you are willing to undergo to get your normal life back.