Why You Should Consider Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Aug 30, 2021
Why You Should Consider Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Back pain is a common ailment, afflicting 8 out of 10 people at least one time during their lives. Your spine extends all the way from the base of the skull into the neck (cervical spine), through the chest (thoracic spine), and down to the...

Back pain is a common ailment, afflicting 8 out of 10 people at least one time during their lives. Your spine extends all the way from the base of the skull into the neck (cervical spine), through the chest (thoracic spine), and down to the tailbone (lumbar spine). 

The moveable part of the spine is composed of 24 bony vertebrae with soft intervertebral discs between them for cushioning. Back pain can occur anywhere along the spine and can be sudden and sharp, throbbing, or a constant dull ache.

At Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center, with offices in the College Park and Sandy Springs area of Atlanta, Georgia, our expert team specializes in back pain — and in the minimally invasive surgical procedures used to treat it. Here’s when and why you should consider minimally invasive spine surgery.

What does minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) entail?

It used to be that, if you needed surgery, the surgeon would make a single, long incision. In the case of spine surgery, he might have to cut through muscle and connective tissue as well, or detach them from bone. The result was a great deal of pain, a serious risk of infection, and a long recovery.

Minimally invasive surgery came into its own in the 1980s, gradually making its way through various specialties, including neurosurgery. Using this technique, the surgeon makes one or more small incisions, each only about ½-inch long. 

Next, the doctor inserts a small metal tube, called an endoscope, that provides a view of the surgery on a computer monitor. By feeding in extremely small instruments beside it, the surgeon repairs or removes tissue. Each incision usually requires just one stitch to close.

What are the benefits of MISS?

Benefits of this type of procedure include:

  • Less anesthesia
  • Smaller incisions
  • Lower risk of infection
  • Decreased blood loss during the procedure
  • Less damage to muscles and soft tissues
  • Shorter hospital stay, or same-day discharge from outpatient surgery center
  • Decreased postoperative pain
  • Less scarring

What types of spine surgeries can be performed using MISS?

MISS can be used for a wide variety of spine problems. These include:

Our team at Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center uses the ExcelsiusGPS® Globus surgery system, which works by combining robotics and navigation technology. 

Before your surgery, your surgeon uploads a CT (computerized tomography) image of your body to the system. He uses this imaging to map out all the details of your procedure, including where to make an incision, or if you’re having a device implanted, the right size implant for you.

During the surgery, ExcelsiusGPS’s navigation system uses this uploaded information and a live, 3D representation of your anatomy, to help your surgeon guide the robotic arm with precise movements. The technology allows our team to take minimally invasive surgery to the next level, creating smaller, more precise incisions and pinpointing hardware placement.

Am I a good candidate for MISS?

That depends on a number of factors. We always start by prescribing conservative, noninvasive treatments, only considering surgery if those fail. If you do require surgery, we customize the treatment and technique for you and your specific condition. This is something we discuss with you during your consultation.

If you’re having back problems and wonder if minimally invasive spine surgery is right for you, give Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center a call to set up a consultation with one of our surgeons, or book online with us today.