Minimally Invasive Endoscopic Spine Surgery – Who does it Benefit and What can Patients Expect?
Endoscopic surgical techniques have been around for decades, but it wasn’t until the 1990’s when they became more widely used for the treatment of various spine conditions. Today, endoscopic spine surgery is recognized as a cutting-edge surgery that is solely performed by specially trained surgeons. This minimally invasive procedure is carried out through the use of an endoscope along with specialized instruments which surgeons use to make small incisions in order to access and treat the affected area. For the past 20 years we have used tubular retractors, endoscopes, lasers, and microscopes to perform laminectomies and microdiscectomies. This muscle sparing approach allows for a faster recovery with less post-operative pain. The operation can be performed with moderate sedation. The procedure is an effective solution for patients who experience sciatica and general back pain caused by conditions such as arthritis, stenosis, and disc herniations.
Who are the Right Candidates for an Endoscopic Spine Surgery?
While there are some limitations as to who can be treated with endoscopic spine surgery, it can be extremely helpful for those who are experiencing common types of spinal disorders. While it is a safe and effective procedure for several conditions, these are some of the qualifiers to determine whether or not you are eligible for surgery:
- A diagnosis that includes disc herniation, sciatica, spinal stenosis, or facet arthroplasty.
- Patients who have tried non-surgical treatments with little to no success.
- Age, weight, and lifestyle can help determine if the procedure is viable.
What to Expect from an Endoscopic Spine Surgery Procedure
Endoscopic spine surgery is designed to eliminate recurring pain and provide patients with faster recovery times that would not otherwise be achieved through traditional spine surgery techniques. While minimally invasive, any type of surgery can be unnerving if the patient doesn’t know what to expect. Fortunately, we can take you through the procedure step-by-step so you can prepare accordingly:
- Before the Procedure: This is an outpatient procedure. Patients are prepped for surgery and given a local anesthetic to numb any pain.
- During the Procedure: A small 10 mm incision is made in the back to access the affected area that requires treatment. A guided wire locates the spinal canal where a set of dilating tubes are then placed over the wire which spread apart the surrounding muscles. A final tube, called a retractor, is then set into place and the wire and dilating tubes are removed. Using a small camera attached to a flexible tube, the surgeon is able to view the internal structure on a monitor. Once the surgery is complete, the retractor is removed, and a small sterile strip is placed over the incision.
- After the Procedure: Patients are usually discharged on the same day as surgery and normal activities may be resumed in as little as one week. Minimal scarring can be expected as the incision is typically no greater than the width of a pinky fingernail.
What are the Benefits of Endoscopic Spine Surgery?
Traditional surgery often proves to be destructive for the spine. Larger incisions increase the risk of damage and complications, whereas endoscopic spine surgery reduces the likelihood of these outcomes and is an ideal option for patients who are high risk. Compared to open surgery, endoscopic spine surgery offers patients a number of benefits including:
- Smaller incisions result in minimal scar tissue formation
- Less damage to the surrounding spinal muscles and tissues
- Decreased pain during and after the procedure
- Sparing blood loss during surgery
- May be performed as an outpatient procedure
- Allows patients to return to normal activities faster
- Reduced risk of post-operative infections
An endoscopic spine surgery requires a high degree of skill and specialized tools in order to be carried out successfully. At Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic, our board-certified surgeons have years of experience and training in complex minimally invasive spine surgery to ensure our patients receive the best care. Talk to your doctor to see if this procedure is the right solution for you.
Contact us today to learn more about endoscopic spine surgery or to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists. We’ll find a solution that works for you! Call us at (601) 366-1011.