Demystifying Minimally Invasive SurgeryBy:Jamie Arnold
People suffering from back pain and are hesitant about undergoing surgery may want to consider having minimally invasive surgery to correct their back pain. Built on the synergy of modern microsurgery and advanced medical technology, minimally invasive procedures present an attractive alternative to open back and neck surgeries traditionally used to treat pain in these areas.
The hallmark of minimally invasive surgery is the use of small incisions to operate on the back or neck. The surgeon inserts a series of tubes into the incision so that the space widens naturally to allow precision tools and cameras to reach the affected area. Instead of the surgeon making a large incision to operate directly on the site, a fluoroscopy, or a thin fiber optic device, is inserted through the tubes to act as the eyes for the surgeon. Once in place, the device transmits images to the surgeon who uses them to guide the tools.
There are many advantages to undergoing minimally invasive surgery to treat back and neck pain. First, there is less cutting of healthy tissue. Because the surgical incisions are so small and the micro tools do little damage to healthy tissue, post-op infections and the formation of inflexible scar tissue are minimized. This leads to a faster recovery and avoidance of the post-operative pain many back patients may have suffered in the past from traditional open back surgery. In addition, the patient is up and around in a matter of a few days as opposed to the weeks or months of recovery normally brought on by traditional back surgery.
Another advantage of minimally invasive surgery is the ability to lightly sedate patients with local anesthetics. Elderly patients with heart problems can particularly benefit from this as an alternative to traditional anesthesia that is either too strong or dangerous to handle.
Minimally invasive procedures are often used to repair a long list of spinal ailments and other conditions related to back injuries. Herniated, bulging or degenerative discs are either repaired or broken up using ultrasound and then suctioned away. Spinal stenosis, arthritis, bone spurs, pinched nerves, scoliosis and many other conditions can be repaired using minimally invasive techniques.
Some estimate a 98% success rate with using minimally invasive surgery to treat back pain. Faced with a debilitating chronic back pain and a relatively minor surgery, anyone suffering from back pain should at least consider a minimally invasive procedure by asking for more details from their physician.