A minimally invasive spine surgery is the procedure where spine decompression and instrumentation are done with minimal collateral damage to surrounding tissue to give best results with minimum side effects.
Advantage of minimally invasive spine (MIS) surgery are:
- post-operative recovery is quick,
- minimal blood loss during the surgery,
- requirement of pain medicines in minimal,
- Return to normal activities and job is faster,
- leaves cosmetically acceptable, minimal scar on skin,
- safer and more effective due to magnification and illumination provided by specialised equipment.
In comparison to a conventional spine surgery, a MIS surgery does same job ( and some times better job) without the need of taking a big skin incision and without lot of muscle dissection. Various types of specialised instruments are required for minimally invasive spine surgery and there are different ways to perform these procedures which depend on individual spine specialist’s choice and patient’s spine problem.
Most commonly done procedure in MIS surgery is micro-endoscopic discectomy. In this procedure specialised instruments, tubes or endoscope is used to remove part of the spinal disc which has herniated out and compressing on spinal cord/ nerves. Similarly, in lumbar canal stenosis, wherein spinal cord is compressed by overgrown bone, ligaments and disc material, pressure on the spinal cord can be removed safely and effectively by one of the minimally invasive spine surgery procedure.
An extensive muscle dissection is required to pass screws for spine instrumentation in conventional spine surgery. MIS surgery can also be used for spine instrumentation. A screw is passed by about one centi-meter long incision and multiple holes are made to pass individual screws. Various specialised instruments are required for these procedures and advanced training is required for a spine doctor to acquire these techniques. Advanced intra-operative x-ray machines (c-arm), computer navigation, and spine robot are used to accomplish these minimally invasive spine surgery procedures for spine instrumentation.
Some other procedures like cementing (vertebroplasty/ kyphoplasty) also can be done using minimally invasive spine surgery techniques to take care of spine fracture.
Dr. Amit Sharma, Mumbai, India