A minimally invasive spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that’s used to join at least two bones of the spine together, which gets rid of any motion between the two bones or vertebrae. The goal of this procedure is to complete the treatment with smaller incisions and less exposure of the spine, which also shortens recovery time. You’ll also find that a minimally invasive procedure like this can be completed without disrupting too much of the surrounding soft tissues.
There are a myriad of benefits when you undergo this procedure, the primary of which include smaller incisions, less pain, a significantly shorter hospital stay, and a shorter recovery time. There’s also lower risk of infection, which means that your recovery should be relatively straightforward.
To understand the benefits of this treatment, compare it with traditional surgery. If you undergo a traditional surgery, the incisions will be larger and the recovery time will be longer. You also may need to remain in the hospital for an extended period of time while you heal. The following offers a detailed explanation on minimally invasive spinal fusions and how you can benefit from them.
Common Conditions Treated by a Minimally Invasive Spinal Fusion
There are a range of health conditions and diseases that can be effectively treated with minimally invasive spinal fusion. They include:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Fracture of your spinal column
- Tumor in your spinal column
- Infection of your spinal column
- Severe back pain
If you suffer from any of these conditions, we can help you determine if a minimally invasive spinal fusion procedure is right for you. Minimally invasive spinal fusion can provide relief for your pain as well as the underlying condition. You’ll also notice that your pain subsides more rapidly than it would with other treatment, which makes for a shorter recovery time.
While traditional spinal fusion surgery is an option, it’s important to know that traditional surgeries can often increase the risk of complications during and after surgery. Because the incisions are larger and the treatment more complicated, many additional risks will need to be taken into account by your surgical team.
Minimally invasive procedures are designed to reduce overall risk and increase the likelihood of a successful operation.
Who Is a Candidate for a Minimally Invasive Spinal Fusion?
In the event that you’ve been diagnosed with one of the above underlying conditions, your next step should be to identify if you’re a good candidate for this procedure. You may be a good candidate for spinal fusion surgery if all other conservative treatments and methods have failed.
If you’ve exhausted non surgical treatment methods such as physical therapy, activity modification, and over-the-counter medicine, you could be a good candidate for this procedure. Even though this procedure is designed to be minimally invasive, it’s still considered to be a surgical procedure, which is why it’s important that you’ve exhausted all other possible options prior to discussing surgical options.
For instance, it’s possible that the over-the-counter medications you’ve been taking have only provided minor or temporary pain relief. In this case, surgery can be a long-lasting treatment. You may also be a good candidate for the spinal fusion procedure if you are still experiencing pain, have limited movement, and are noticing a continual impact on your day-to-day life.
What to Expect During a Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery?
If your physician determines a minimally invasive spinal fusion is the best option for you, you should understand how it works before the day of the procedure arrives. Even though the minimally invasive procedure offers many more benefits when compared to traditional surgery, it can still be a complex treatment because of the amount of work that needs to be done.
During this treatment, an incision will be made close to the middle of your back. You can be confident in the placement of this incision since the location is confirmed via a fluoroscopy technique that uses intraoperative x-rays.
Your muscles will then be split with tubular retractors that are positioned over dilators, which provides the surgeon with access to your spine without needing to remove as much of the muscle as would be necessary in a traditional surgery. Because of how this process is performed, any injuries to your muscles or pain you experience should be minimized considerably.
While the first dilator is located around the lamina of your spine, larger ones will be applied one by one, which allows the size of the primary exposure to increase at a gradual rate until there’s enough room for the surgical tools to be used. Eventually a retractor will again be positioned over the dilators, after which the dilators will be removed. Once the retractor is in the right place, the soft tissue surrounding the retractor will be held back.
The remaining decompression and fusion components of the surgery will occur under a microscope, which increases clarity and lighting during the procedure. By using a microscope, the treatment being performed is more precise.
Experience Pain Relief Today
A minimally invasive spinal fusion is a highly beneficial treatment for anyone who requires a spinal fusion surgery. Whether you have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease or a tumor has been located in your spinal column, obtaining a minimally invasive treatment means that the incisions will be smaller, your recovery time will be shorter, and your hospital stay won’t last as long.
Minimally invasive surgery is Dr. Alexander’s specialty, which is why you can be confident that you’re taking the right step on your journey to pain relief. If you’re ready to experience pain relief, make an appointment with Dr. Alexander today.