A Few Things to Know About Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

If you've been having back pain for a while and treatments recommended by your doctor don't help, your doctor might suggest having back surgery. While the idea of having back surgery could be concerning, it might be possible to have a minimally invasive type of surgery that uses a small incision and has a quicker recovery time. Here are some things to know about minimally invasive spine surgery.

Several Back Conditions Can Be Treated

Minimally invasive spine surgery can't be used on all types of spinal conditions, but it can be used in many cases. This type of surgery can be used to decompress nerves, remove a disc, replace a disc, stabilize your spine, fuse your spine, and remove small tumors. However, your surgeon considers your unique medical condition to determine if a minimally invasive procedure is right for you.

The Procedure Is Less Traumatic Than Open Surgery

You'll still have an incision and recovery time after the procedure, but recovery should be quicker since there is less trauma to your back. When minimally invasive spine surgery isn't appropriate, you have open surgery. Open surgery requires a long incision in your back and cutting through tissues to reach your spine.

The minimally invasive procedure uses short incisions. The surgeon passes a tube in the incision that can move tissues out of the way as the tube moves toward your spine. The surgeon can then pass medical tools and a camera through the small tube to perform the operation while watching the procedure on a monitor. There will be less damage to the tissues of your back when doing this procedure, and that can potentially lower the risk of complications and make recovery easier and quicker.

Some Surgeries Are Done as an Outpatient

Some types of minimally invasive spinal surgery are done on an outpatient basis. However, some surgeries may require a short hospital stay. You might have general anesthesia or sedation with local anesthesia depending on the type of surgery you need.

Whether you stay in the hospital after the surgery or not, you'll be sent home with instructions for your recovery period. It's important to follow your doctor's orders so you'll have a complete recovery and avoid further complications with your back.

Recovery Might Take a Few Months

Even though minimally invasive spinal surgery is less invasive than open surgery, you still go through a recovery period. Depending on the nature of your surgery, the recovery period could last several weeks or months. You might be sent to physical therapy to strengthen your back and to ensure your muscles don't get weak due to inactivity.

You'll probably have your activities limited at first, and you may feel discomfort when twisting or bending. However, as time goes on, you'll increase your level of activity so you can get back to life as normal. You may need to take off work for several weeks, but the downtime after the procedure is essential for proper healing and a successful outcome for your surgery.