Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery versus Traditional Surgery

Minimally invasive surgery puts a smaller stress on the body than traditional spine surgery by using a very small incision to access the pathology that needs to be repaired. Traditional surgery involves a larger surface area where there is a greater disruption of muscle, tissue, and other associated structures. However, some conditions can only be fixed with a traditional spine surgery.

If your surgeon believes your back pain or problem can be fixed with minimally invasive spine surgery, it will put less stress on your body and is ultimately the better choice.

Advantages of Each

Traditional spine surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery are two different vehicles, each with their pros and cons.

Certain problems can be fixed only by traditional open invasive surgery. However, many back and spine issues can be fixed by a minimally invasive surgery and usually that is to the patient’s benefit.

The advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery include:

  • Shorter recovery times
  • Better outcomes
  • Less risk of complications
  • Less likelihood of future problems
  • Reduced likelihood of future back surgery

Disadvantages of Each

Not everything can be fixed with a minimally invasive approach. Sometimes, the back diagnosis is very serious and cannot be fixed the problem through a minimally invasive approach. Often this is due to a patient’s specific needs or health considerations. In very rare circumstances, the patient may try a minimally invasive procedure that does not correct the problem and must progress to traditional open back surgery.

Traditional spine surgery comes with higher risks, higher complications, and a higher risk of infection.

Difference in Recovery Time

Ordinarily, the recovery period is much shorter with a minimally invasive surgery because there is not as much damage to the back and surrounding muscle tissue. A traditional surgery requires a much larger incision and affects more tissue and muscles. There is a greater chance for a nerve or something else to be affected. As a result, the recovery period is shorter with a minimally invasive operation.

This is not a concept that is unique to spine surgery. In most areas of medicine, the trends for surgery are leaning towards using the least invasive option available. For example, in a cardiac setting, the doctor may go through the patient’s thigh to access the heart rather than cutting their chest wide open. There are technology advances that can provide better care to the patient and minimally invasive spine surgery is an advancement of technology.

Physical Implications of Traditional Open Back Surgery

Sometimes the patient needs to have a bigger operation. Some people benefit from traditional surgery. When surgery can be performed in a less invasive manner; that is the better option. What we do is not typically centered on life and death. However, our office is qualified to do certain tumors and we do certain operations that could impact someone. This is not typically a life and death situation, but rather someone who is trying to be cured of symptoms, most notably pain.