Over the past several years, spinal surgery has advanced by leaps and bounds. Surgical techniques have become increasingly less invasive thanks to critical aspects of surgery including imaging, nerve monitoring, surgical materials, and special instrumentation. Today, a large number of the spinal surgeries that are performed are minimally invasive in nature, meaning that the procedure is carried out through tiny incisions rather than a larger incision and separation of muscle tissue to access the spine.
Classification of Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery
There are two primary categories of minimally invasive spinal surgery. One is decompression and one is fusion. Decompression is what we focus on here in our Tampa office.
Spinal decompression surgery is conducted to decompress the nerves of the spine that are being pressed upon by bone spurs, soft tissue, and/or disc matter. In a healthy spine, the spinal cord is surrounded by fluid within the spinal canal, the “tube” at the center of the bony spinal column. With age and usage, the joints in the spine can enlarge, much like our knuckles do. At the same time, the discs that sit in between vertebrae can break down. This may allow the gel-like fluid that fills the disc to spill out or the disc itself to become soft and bulging. A bulging disc that presses on the nerve root can cause radiating pain, weakness, numbness, tingling, or other sensations.
Historically, spinal decompression involved the open technique that required more extensive disruption to natural anatomy. The development of minimally invasive techniques such as Discectomy Neural Decompression has changed the interaction between surgeon and patient in the best possible way.
Benefits of Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery
We want to say that the majority of patients who complain of back pain improve with a short course of treatment that involves rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy stretching and exercise. Research has indicated that, when surgery is needed, the minimally invasive approach is ideal for the treatment of nerve compression, offering benefits that include:
- Less blood loss during surgery
- Less post-operative discomfort
- Faster recovery and rehabilitation
- Smaller scars
Minimally invasive spinal surgery is also advantageous because, compared to open surgery during which more levels of the spine are exposed, there is less disruption to adjacent spinal segments. This reduces the risk of accelerated or early degeneration in the level above or below the treated spinal segment.