Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally = as little as possible
Invasive = intrusive; involving less Soft tissue damage.

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is performed with specialized instruments and techniques that minimize disruption to the body’s tissues.

Compared to traditional, open surgical procedures, minimally invasive procedures generally:

  • Require less cutting of muscles or soft tissues
  • Use smaller incisions and leave smaller scars
  • Reduce a patient’s hospital stay post surgery
  • Require less recovery time
  • Allow a faster return to normal activities
  • Reduce the risk for infection
  • May produce less pain and discomfort for the patient, necessitating fewer pain medications post surgery

The instruments used to perform MIS spinal procedures typically pass down through the retractors to reach the spine. Minimally invasive surgeries are performed through such small openings that the surgeon does not have the same view of the area as a surgeon performing an open procedure. To see inside the body during an MIS procedure, the surgeon may use any of the following tools and techniques :

  • Microscopy : A surgical microscope placed over the retractor can provide the surgeon with a highly magnified, brightly illuminated view of the surgical area.
  • Fluoroscopy : This technique produces X-ray images in real time–like a video X-ray. The images are projected onto a screen for the surgeon.
  • Navigation :  This technique allows the surgeon real time positioning of the instrument/ implants in to the body without the need of repetitive C-arm/ X-ray shoots minimizing radiation exposure.

Minimally invasive surgery procedures include :

  • Image-guided surgery– any procedure that uses special cameras to track instruments very precisely, like a GPS.
  • Vertebroplasty- a procedure used to treat Osteoporotic compression fractures.
  • Microdecompression/ laminectomy– removing the lamina, a bone that makes up part of the vertebra, in the lumbar spine (low back).
  • Lumbar microdiscectomy– a procedure in which a surgeon uses a microscope and microsurgical tools to remove part of a spinal disc in the lumbar spine.
  • Percutaneous pedicle fixation – the placement of metal rods and screws in sturdy sections of vertebrae called the pedicles.
  • Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) a procedure in which the surgeon removes a damaged disc (or discs) and places new bone in the available space.