Doing operations on the spine used to be an “open surgery”. This entails creating a long incision to enable the surgeon to access the spine area. However, technological advances in recent years have allowed for minimally invasive surgical technique to emerge. Minimally invasive spine surgery or MISS doesn’t require a long incision therefore minimizing any damage that might be inflicted to the muscles that surround the spine. This results to lesser after-surgery pain and faster recovery.
Spine surgery is considered only when non-surgical treatment like medication and physical therapy has failed to relieve the back pain. More over surgery will only be recommended if the doctor can pinpoint the exact source of the back pain. Herniated disc or spinal stenosis is the usual conditions that cause back pain. Since the 1990s, minimally invasive techniques have slowly begun to be the preferred procedure for decompression and spinal fusion. Decompression is removing portions of bone or herniated disc to relieve the pressure on the spinal nerves. Spinal fusion on the other hand connects painful vertebrae so they can heal into a single, solid bone.
Also referred to as less invasive spine surgery, MISS uses specialized tools and instruments to create small incisions and access the spine. It was developed to treat spine problems with, less bleeding as well as less muscle and other spine structure injury. Through MISS, the surgeon can also focus on where the problem is. This is a stark difference if compared to open surgery. In open surgery, the doctor needs to create an incision that is 5 to 6 inches long and move the muscles in order to access the spine. The muscles need to be pulled to the side so he can easily place screws, cages and other bone graft materials needed to stabilize and heal the spinal bones. The pulling or retraction of the muscles surrounding the spine can damage the soft tissue and exposes the patient to greater risk of muscle injury, more back pain and lengthier recovery period.