The Vault

back-pain, spine doctor
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Is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery the Right Choice for Me?

spine surgery, spine doctor, pain management

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS) is a technique developed in recent years that is gaining increasing popularity. As technology advances, more conditions are being successfully treated in this manner. An increasing number of people with spine problems are choosing this option, and are experiencing positive results. So, the questions that many people have are:

  • What are the differences between MISS and traditional surgery?
  • What are the benefits of MISS?
  • Is MISS the right choice for you?

Traditional open surgery, which is done the operating room, requires the surgeon to make incisions five to six inches long, and then pull the muscle, nerve, and blood vessel tissue aside to gain access to the spine to remove damaged disc and vertebral material. Moving the soft tissue in this manner can lead to injury, increased pain, and a prolonged recovery time. Some conditions will still require this approach due to their location and the extent of the problem.

MISS can be done in the catheterization lab, and uses small cuts of two inches or less, with a device called a tubular retractor inserted into a cut. The surgeon uses x-ray (fluoroscopy) to guide the tubular retractor through the soft tissue until it reaches the spinal column. Once in place, the surgeon uses special tools to perform the surgery through the tubular retractor. Bone and disc debris from the operation are removed through the tube, and then bone grafts are implanted similarly. Hardware, such as metal plating, rods, and screws can also be attached to the spinal column through the tube. The tube is removed once the procedure is complete, and the cut is closed.

Some advantages of MISS are:

  • Less blood loss
  • Less damage to soft tissue
  • Faster healing and recovery time
  • Shorter hospital stay

MISS is currently used for cervical and lumbar discectomy and fusion surgeries. The technique is also being used for treating compression fractures, scoliosis, and spinal tumors.

If you have neck or low back problems and would like to find out if you are a candidate for the MISS choices we offer, please call us at our New Braunfels or Seguin offices.

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