Five Advantages of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Whether you have a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, or one of many other spine conditions, you know the agony of chronic back pain.

When your back pain refuses to respond to conservative treatments such as medications and physical therapy, it’s time to consider surgery to repair the cause of your pain.

Richard B. Kim, MD, fully understands the concerns people face when they need spine surgery. But most of the potential risks that fuel your fears disappear when you have minimally invasive spine surgery.

Dr. Kim is renowned for his experience in minimally invasive spine surgery, precise surgical skills, and success rate. Combined with his compassionate and personal care, his patients achieve remarkable results.

So, let’s talk about the five biggest benefits you get from minimally invasive spine surgery.

1. Avoid large incisions

Minimally invasive surgery is distinguished from traditional open surgery by the size of the incision. Open surgery is done through one long incision that goes through all the layers of your skin and underlying muscles. Then the tissues are pulled back so the surgeon has full access to your spine.

When you have minimally invasive spine surgery, we make one, or at most a few, small incisions that are about one-half inch long. Then we safely and successfully perform spinal procedures by using specially designed instruments that fit through the tiny incisions.

2. Get precise surgery

Despite making small incisions, we get a better view of your spine thanks to devices like endoscopes and surgical microscopes. Endoscopes are narrow, so they go through a small incision, yet they’re equipped with lighting and a high-definition camera. After we insert the scope, the camera sends magnified images to a monitor.

During minimally invasive spine surgery, we also use a GPS-type of navigation and real-time X-rays that allow us to carefully target the small structures in your spine. All these techniques work together to ensure we perform incredibly precise surgery.

3. Save your muscles

Though there are several great benefits to minimally invasive spine surgery, one of the best involves your muscles. More specifically, we don’t need to cut through your muscles.

Instead, we make a small incision through your skin and insert a narrow tube, guiding it between the muscle fibers. Then we gradually increase the size of the tube, gently stretching the fibers apart until the opening is large enough for our instruments.

4. Face fewer complications

Though all surgical procedures carry some risk, minimally invasive spine surgery causes dramatically less trauma. That means you face fewer complications. You can sidestep potential problems like excessive bleeding and infections.

You also have less postsurgical pain, so you can avoid other complications. For example, minimally invasive spine surgery reduces the need for potentially addictive pain medications. You also lower your risk of problems like blood clots that occur when you stay in bed too long after open surgery.

5. Get back into action faster

The first four benefits all lead up to this: Your recovery is faster after minimally invasive surgery. Your muscles don’t need time to heal; they simply return to their normal position after your surgery. Combined with less pain and bleeding, you will feel much better compared to open surgery.

You’ll be up and walking shortly after your procedure, and for most procedures, you go home the same day. If you need to stay in the hospital, it’s just overnight for closer observation after your surgery.

With less pain and trauma, you can start your rehabilitation sooner. And that means you get back to the activities you love faster.

Minimally invasive spine surgery isn’t always the best option. It depends on the underlying spine problem and your general health. But whenever possible, our patients get outstanding results with minimally invasive techniques.

A detailed look into the OR for a minimally invasive surgery is described in an earlier post by Dr. Kim here.

To learn more about minimally invasive surgery or to schedule an appointment, call Richard B. Kim, MD, or book an appointment online today.

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