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Advancements in Modern Spinal Surgery

The Pitfalls of Open Back Surgery

Open back surgery has been around for over a decade.  Procedures such as Spinal Fusion and Discectomy have brought quality of life back to individuals that thought there was no hope for them.  Associated with open back surgery are large incisions, invasive procedures, general anesthesia, long days of initial recovery in the hospital, as well as longer recovery times at home and in therapy.

Traditionally, an open discectomy would require a large incision, cutting or tearing of muscles and tissue, and partial or full removal of the lamina just to reach and visualize the damaged disc. But rest assured, there is an easier approach to this and other open back procedures.

Modern Spine Surgery Techniques

There are many times when open back surgery is the only option because the condition affecting the patient is so complicated. But, would it be better if we could avoid the general anesthesia, hospital stays, and extended recovery times?

Endoscopic spine surgery is a modern, minimally invasive approach to treating conditions that would traditionally be treated as an open surgery candidate.  Instead of requiring the surgeon to make a large incision and cut his or her way into the problem, it is visualized with more precision on a monitor and with the use of an endoscope.

There are many advantages to endoscopic spine surgery with very few risks involved. Endoscopic procedures do not require general anesthesia, only require a small incision. The procedure does not require cutting or tearing of muscle (they are gently moved out of the way), doesn’t require an overnight stay in the hospital, and has a much quicker rate of recovery. Along with these advantages, the success rates for endoscopic procedures are the same, if not higher, than traditional open back procedures.

Endoscopic Foraminotomy

This surgery takes a minimally invasive approach to relieve pressure in the foramen caused by compression. Spinal bone spurs, herniated disc material, scar tissue, or excessive ligament development is removed to free the trapped nerve.  Endoscopic Foraminotomy procedures offer quick recovery options, allowing patients to be back at work and normal activities much more quickly.

Endoscopic Discectomy

Endoscopic discectomy is a minimally invasive approach to a traditional discectomy that uses an endoscope to visualize the damaged disc on a monitor, similar to a TV screen. The procedure is performed to remove damaged disc material that is causing pain and other symptoms in the lower back or neck.

Endoscopic Facet Rhizotomy

This procedure is performed to deaden the nerves responsible for causing back and neck pain.  With X-ray guidance and magnified video, the rhizotomy can be completed without worrying about damage occurring to surrounding muscle or soft tissue.

Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (X-LIF)

A much less invasive form of surgery for conditions that require a traditional spinal fusion procedure.  It is a gentle method that allows the surgeon to approach and gain access to the spine from the side rather than the front or back.

Without the need of cutting and disrupting muscles in the back or traversing through the abdomen, there is less trauma,  the surgery is less painful and there is less recovery time.  X-LIF recovery can be accomplished in weeks instead of the months that traditional fusion procedures take.