Home » The Pros and Cons of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and Traditional Spine Surgery

The Pros and Cons of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and Traditional Spine Surgery

by Melissa Bell
3 minutes read

Do you have a spinal problem that doctors can only fix with surgery? If so, consider minimally invasive surgeries over traditional spine corrections.

When it comes to your health, you cannot afford to take a risk. This includes your back, back problems, and spinal issues. When your spine suffers strains, sprains, or needs surgery, you still have options at your disposal. We urge you to consider a minimally invasive spinal surgery before you go all in with traditional open surgery. This article contains all you need to know about the differences between the two.

doctor Surgery nurse

What is a Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Doctors sometimes call minimally invasive spine surgery less invasive spine surgery. During minimally invasive spine surgery, surgeons depend upon advanced technologies to treat your spinal condition with the minimum of damage to the muscles and tendons of the spine. Minimally invasive spine surgery, or MISS, often gives patients a faster recovery time. The surgery itself is also quicker, causing less pain to the patient.

Advancements in medical technology mean we can now perform minimally invasive spine surgeries on a variety of conditions. Some of these include:

  • Decompression treatments relieve pressure on the spinal columns and discs
  • Spinal fusion procedures fuse painful vertebrae back together again
  • Treatment of spinal fractures
  • Treatment of spinal tumors
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis treatments
  • Help with spinal deformities
  • Spinal infections and instabilities, and more

How Does MISS Work?

When you go in for your MISS treatment, you experience less pain and muscle irritation than you would in traditional surgery. During your operation, the surgeon will make a series of small incisions which they use to access your spine. They then use small cameras and precision operating procedures to mend your spinal health condition without opting for major surgery.

The Pros and Cons of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Procedures

Let’s weigh each type of spine surgery up against one another with a pros and cons list.

The Pros

  • Surgery is faster
  • Recovery times are quicker
  • Less chance of infection
  • Less scarring
  • Minimal soft tissue inflation and damage

The Cons:

  • MISS is technical and complex
  • Only expert surgeons can do it
  • You may experience typical recovery symptoms such as bleeding or pain

What is Traditional Spine Surgery?

During traditional spine surgery, the surgeon opens your back to get to your spine. The surgeon makes a larger incision which leads to scarring on the back. The surgeon may require tools designed to work with bone, which means you need to be heavily sedated. Open spine surgery carries lengthy recovery times and requires repeated checkups. Surgeries can take hours, and the patient takes weeks or months to recover.

Conditions Open Spine Surgery Treats include:

  • All the above conditions that MISS treats
  • Disk replacements
  • Foraminotomy
  • Nucleoplasty – plasma disk decompressions
  • Discectomies
  • Spinal laminectomy
  • Vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty, and more.

How Does Open Spine Surgery Work?

You will go into the hospital at a time that suits the surgeon. The surgical team will sedate you and make a large incision in your back. They will treat you while your back is ‘open’ and return you to the recovery suite. You will take longer to recover, and you will endure a painful process. There are certain conditions that they cannot perform with MISS, and this accounts for those.

The Pros and Cons of Traditional Spine Surgery

Let’s review those pros and cons again.

The Pros:

  • Open back surgery treats all back conditions
  • You may only need to do it once
  • You will eventually return to full health

The Cons:

  • There is a greater risk of infection
  • Your recovery time takes longer
  • There is more damage to the surrounding tissues

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