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Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery: What You Need to Know

Minimally invasive spine surgery

If you have persistent back pain or a condition that affects your daily life because of your spine, you might want to think about spine surgery as a possible treatment. However, traditional open spine surgery can be invasive, risky, and require a long recovery. Fortunately, an alternative is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS). This guest post explains MISS, how it differs from open spine surgery, its benefits and risks, and what to expect from the procedure and recovery process.

What is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS)?

Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) is a new method that helps surgeons treat different back problems with less damage to the muscles and tissues around the spine.

A long cut is made in traditional open surgery, and much muscle is cut away. MISS, on the other hand, uses small cuts and special tools to get to the spine.

If you suffer from chronic back pain that does not respond to conservative treatments, you may be a candidate for MISS, such as MicroTube spine surgery.

Conditions Treated by MISS

MISS offers a range of treatments for various medical conditions, including:

  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal tumors
  • Spinal infections
  • Spinal deformities

Benefits of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Some key advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery include the following:

  • Less blood loss: Because the incisions are smaller and there is less damage to the tissue, patients often lose less blood during MISS procedures than during traditional open surgery.
  • Reduced risk of infection: Smaller incisions and less exposure of the surgical site to the environment can decrease the risk of post-surgical infections.
  • Shorter hospital stays: Patients who undergo MISS typically have shorter hospital stays than those with open spine surgery, allowing them to return home sooner.
  • Faster recovery: The minimally invasive nature of the surgery helps reduce post-operative pain, allowing patients to resume their daily activities more quickly.
  • Preservation of spinal stability: By avoiding extensive muscle dissection and ligament disruption, MISS can help maintain the stability and function of the spine.
  • Reduced need for post-operative pain medication: With less pain and discomfort after surgery, patients may require less pain medication during their recovery.
  • Better cosmetic results: Less scarring and smaller incisions can make the results look better. You will not have to worry about laser and skin care needs.

The Procedure for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Pre-Operative Preparation

Before your surgery, you must have a thorough evaluation by your surgeon and anesthesiologist. They will examine your medical history, physical exam, and imaging tests to determine which surgery will help you the most.

You will also receive instructions on preparing for the surgery, such as stopping certain medications, fasting before the procedure, and arranging for someone to drive you home afterward.

Anesthesia Options

The type and extent of your surgery determine the kind of sedation you may receive. General anesthesia means you will be asleep and unaware of the surgery. Local anesthesia with sedation means you will be awake but relaxed and numb in the area of the surgery.

Your anesthesiologist will discuss each option’s pros and cons and help you choose the best one for your comfort and safety.

Types of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Techniques

Different MISS techniques can treat spinal conditions, such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, fractures, and deformities. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Microdiscectomy removes a small portion of a herniated disc to relieve pressure it is putting on a nerve root or part of the spinal cord.
  • Discectomy removes all or part of a damaged disc causing pain or nerve compression.
  • Laminectomy removes part of the lamina, the bony arch covering the spinal canal. It creates more space for the spinal cord and nerves.
  • Kyphoplasty is a procedure in which bone cement is injected into a broken vertebra to fix its height and shape.
  • Vertebroplasty stabilizes a fractured vertebra by injecting bone cement into it.
  • Spinal fusion combines two or more vertebrae using bone grafts or implants to prevent movement and relieve pain.

Intraoperative Imaging Techniques

During MISS, your surgeon will use advanced imaging techniques to guide the instruments through small incisions in your skin. These include fluoroscopy (X-ray), endoscopy (camera), or navigation (computer). These techniques allow your surgeon to see inside your spine without making large cuts or damaging surrounding tissues.

Post-Operative Care

After MISS, you will be transferred to a recovery room and monitored for complications. You may experience pain or discomfort at the incision sites or in your back and will receive pain medication as needed. Depending on your surgery type, you may also have restrictions on activity level.

Your surgeon will provide in-depth instructions for you when going home, such as dressing changes, wound care, medication use, and physical therapy exercises. You should follow these instructions carefully to ensure optimal healing and recovery.

Recovery After Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

MISS has many benefits over traditional open surgery, such as less blood loss, pain, shorter hospital stay, and faster recovery. However, recovery after MISS still requires some care and attention.

The tips below may help you recover smoothly after your MISS procedure:

Hospital Stay

The type and extent of your surgery determine how long you may need to stay in the hospital for one or two nights. During this time, your medical team will monitor your vital signs, check your wound site and manage your pain. You will also be encouraged to get up and walk around as soon as possible to prevent blood clots and improve circulation.

Pain Management

You may feel some pain and discomfort following your surgery, but medication can be used to manage these symptoms. Your doctor will prescribe painkillers you can take orally or through an intravenous (IV) line.

You may also have a patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pump that allows you to administer a dose of pain medication when needed. Follow your doctor’s directions on how to use these medications safely and effectively.

Physical Therapy after Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Physical therapy helps you regain strength, flexibility, and mobility in your spine and surrounding muscles. You may start physical therapy in the hospital or at home after discharge.

Your physical therapist will make an exercise plan based on your condition and what you want to achieve. You should follow this program diligently and report any problems or concerns to your therapist.

Returning to Work and Daily Activities

The time it takes to return to work and your daily activities vary. Factors include the type of surgery you had, the nature of your job, and your recovery rate. In general, you should be able to do light things like walking, driving, and housework again within two to four weeks after surgery.

You may need to avoid lifting heavy objects and bending or twisting your spine for six weeks or longer. You should consult your doctor before returning to work or engaging in strenuous activities.

Follow-Up Appointments

You must see your doctor for regular follow-up appointments after your surgery. These appointments are essential to monitor your healing progress, check for complications or infections, remove stitches or staples, and adjust medication dosage if necessary. You should also ask any questions or address any concerns that you may have during these visits.


Minimally invasive spine surgery can offer many benefits over traditional open surgery, such as less pain, shorter hospital stays, speedier recovery, and a lower risk of complications. However, it is unsuitable for everyone and may not address all spinal problems.

That’s why it is important to discuss your options with a doctor who specializes in spine surgery and can recommend the best treatment for your condition. Don’t let back pain limit your quality of life. Seek professional advice before deciding about the procedure and find out if minimally invasive spine surgery is right for you.

About the Author

Royal Spine Surgery provides personalized, minimally invasive spine surgery treatment plans. Our use of innovative techniques like MicroTube Spine Surgery allows for same-day-spine surgeries. Patients who suffer from spinal stenosis, sciatica or pinched nerves, lumbar Radiculopathy, disk herniation and neurogenic claudication can return home the same day with faster recovery times and an improved quality of life.

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