The vertebral column, also known as the spine or backbone consists of numerous vertebrae stacked one upon the other and separated by intervertebral discs that prevent friction upon movement. The spine not only provides support, but also houses the spinal cord through which nerves send messages to the brain.
A number of conditions can arise in the spine which requires surgical correction. Gone are the days when surgery meant large incisions and much longer recovery times. Currently, minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) is the norm in specialist hospitals offering advanced patient care. There is a lot of research going on in the practice of MISS with newer technologies and innovative techniques being used to treat back or neck pains caused by a variety of disorders.
MISS can be used to treat spinal conditions that include herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, scoliosis and spinal stenosis. With MISS, there is lower post-surgical pain, lower soft tissue damage, lower infection risks and smaller surgical scars. The patient also has a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery time when compared to traditional open spine surgery.
Highly specialized tools and computer-assisted technology is used in MISS and in some cases, a fluoroscope (x-ray machine) may further offer better views to guide the surgeon during the procedure. The main goals of MISS include decompression and stabilization. These can be achieved through 3 main MISS techniques:
This is similar to the traditional open surgery but offers fewer risks such as lower chances of infection and lesser blood loss. All this is possible because advances in visualization technology have made mini-open procedures with smaller incisions more achievable now.
This form of spine surgery involves the use of an endoscope which is a tiny video camera attached to a fiber-optic cable. It is inserted into the body through a small incision (measuring less than 2cm) to access the spine and send visuals of the area onto screens in the operating room. This type of surgery is also known as ‘keyhole surgery’ and its use isn’t limited to just the spine. The endoscope guides the surgeon while making other smaller incisions to insert instruments and repair the problem.
A tubular retractor acts like a tunnel that goes through the back muscles to reach the spine. When using a tubular retractor with MISS, it’s also known as the muscle-splitting approach. There is lower muscle damage and blood loss when compared with open surgeries.
For those with spine problems, the Sita Bhateja Speciality hospital in Bangalore has a team of highly-experienced doctors specialized in cutting-edge surgical techniques like MISS, aided with latest technologies. You can find more about them at http://www.sbshospital.com/