The Vault

Minimally invasive spine surgeries may be performed as:

  • Lumbar Discectomy – Severe leg pain numbness or weakness may be due to a herniated disc that is pinching a spinal nerve. During discectomy, the disc is surgically removed to relieve these symptoms. The patient lies face down and a small incision, typically less than an inch, is made above the herniated disc’s location. The surgeon then inserts a retractor and removes a small amount of the lamina bone so he can view the spinal nerve and disc properly. He retracts the nerve carefully, removes the damaged disc, and replaces it with a bone graft material. This procedure can also be done for any herniated discs in the neck area.
  • Lumbar Fusion – Just like a typical open lumbar fusion, MISS lumbar fusions can be performed from the back, abdomen, or the side. A common procedure is the transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF). In a TLIF technique, the surgeon accesses the spine from the side to reduce the amount of spinal nerve that must be removed. During surgery, the surgeon places a retractor on either side of the spine while the patient is lying down. This procedure prevents any disruption of the bone and midline ligaments. The surgeon removes the lamina and disc with the help of two retractors and places a bone graft into the disc space, as well as screws or rods for additional support.

MISS still have potential risks like any type of operation, but they have a lower infection rate, unlike open spinal surgeries. It is, therefore, important for patients to talk to their surgeons before any type of MISS procedure is performed. Here are the possible complications when undergoing MISS:

  • Infection – To lessen the risk of infection, antibiotics are regularly given to the patient before, during, and after the surgery.
  • Bleeding – During MISS surgeries, an insignificant amount of bleeding should be expected.
  • Pain – Some patients report pain at the bone graft site.
  • Recurring symptoms – Some patients report experiencing recurrent symptoms before they underwent surgery.
  • Pseudarthrosis – This is when a person doesn’t have enough bone formation, which is common with patients who smoke. A second surgery may be performed to create a solid fusion.
  • Nerve damage – This type of complication is rare, but there is still a possibility of injuring nerves or blood vessels during an MISS operation.s
  • Blood clots – These are also considered uncommon. Blood clots are dangerous, especially if one breaks off and reaches the lungs.

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