Studies have shown that patients who undergo Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS) experience less post-operative pain and recover faster than patients who undergo traditional spine surgery.
The main reasons for this are (1) a small incision is used to performed MISS (2) less soft tissue and muscle damage occur. At Plymouth Bay Orthopedic Associates in Duxbury and Sandwich, MA, Board Certified Orthopedic Spine Surgeon Dr. Steven Leckie, is an expert in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and has helped thousands of patients return to an active and healthy lifestyle.
There have been numerous advancements that have helped spine surgeons perfect MISS techniques and provide patients with a pain relief solution in as short a time frame as possible. A few of them are explained below.
1. Tubular Retractors
Tubular retractors are a very important part of MISS as they are small specialized instruments are used to help surgeons access and view the area of the spine that is being operated on. The key benefit tubular retractors provide is the ability to perform surgery by being passed between muscle fibers instead of cutting muscles or soft tissues.
A tubular retractor is a hollow tube used after the surgeon makes a tiny incision. Once the small incision is made the surgeon inserts a small tubular retractor into it and the retractor gently moves muscles and soft tissues aside.
Multiple tubular retractors are passed over the first retractor to create a bigger space. Once the surgeon can see the area of the spine that will be operated on, he passes tiny surgical instruments through the space created by the retractors.
Fluoroscopy is live x-ray imaging. During minimally invasive spine surgery, fluoroscopy is used to help the surgeon view and operate on the spine. The patient is comfortably placed in a position where a portable x-ray device can be maneuvered to different angles to give the surgeon a perfect view of the area being operated on. The surgeon views fluoroscopic imaging from an attached monitor system. Pictures can be taken at any time during surgery for comparison purposes. Like tubular retractors, fluoroscopy allows the surgeon to perform surgery without making a large incision or cutting muscles or soft tissues.
3. Types of Procedures
Nearly all types of spine surgeries can now be performed minimally invasively. The most common of these include the following:
- Discectomy procedures. The complete or partial removal of an intervertebral disc that is causing pain.
- Fusion procedures. The removal of a painful disc and fusion of adjacent vertebrae.
Finding the Right Specialist for You
Conditions that affect the cervical (neck) or lumbar (lower back) regions can all be treated using MISS. Patients who are experiencing pain and would like to find out if MISS is the right treatment option for their condition are encouraged to make an appointment with Dr. Leckie in our offices in Duxbury or Sandwich, MA.