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Frequently Asked Questions
About The Advanced Spine Surgery Center About Surgical Procedures About What You Can Expect
Questions About The Advanced Spine and Outpatient Surgery Center

There are many reasons to have your minimally invasive spine surgery performed at The Advanced Spine Surgery Center:

We are a world-class facility with a team of renowned and award-winning doctors who have unparalleled experience and precision in today's revolutionary endoscopic spine and neck surgery options (link to Treatment Options and What to Expect). The New Jersey spinal surgeons of Advanced Spine Surgery Center perform TRUE minimally invasive spine surgeries.

We treat every patient with respect and dignity. We understand how pain impacts daily living and it is our mission to provide long-lasting pain relief with minimal disruption to your life.

There is a national trend toward freestanding surgical facilities for outpatient surgery and we're proud to be part of it. We are smaller than a hospital, which means each patient receives highly personalized attention with no delays in scheduling.

Our facility is warm, comfortable and immaculately maintained.

With minimally invasive laser procedures we can see the problems often better than with open procedures. There is less destruction of normal tissues, which reduces new post-operative complaints.

What we can see during surgery with the magnification and direct illumination is remarkable when compared to the visualization during an open operation. It is just like the difference between open knee surgery and endoscopic knee surgery. No one any longer doubts the incredible benefits of endoscopy of the knee. It is similar with the spine.

Problems that are difficult to resolve with conventional surgery are often quite amenable to the endoscopic laser approach. There is less scar tissue and trauma as a result of the operation itself and this results in our ability to improve your problem without creating new ones.

Through the use of these advanced techniques many problems can be resolved when related to the disc, bone or scar tissue even though many patients may have had previous spinal surgery. These techniques are like a fresh look at an old problem, so while they cannot help everyone, it is not yet the time to despair!

The Advanced Spine Surgery Center is located at 855 Lehigh Avenue in Union, NJ. Please click here for driving directions.

Not everyone can be helped and not everyone is satisfied. This is, after all, still spine surgery. We do sincerely believe that in those that are not improved, the negative consequences of the open techniques are at least avoided. This is the next step in the treatment of spinal disorders. It is now most advanced state-of-the-art technique but we all know that in the continuum of life and learning, that there will be new great advances in the decades to come.

One thing you can be assured of, our doctors will only recommend surgery if they believe they can help you.

Our insurance coordinator will be able to assist you with your questions regarding benefit coverage for your health insurance plan. At the Advanced Spine Surgery Center, we accept out-of-network benefits for many insurance companies. Prior to your surgery our financial services department will ensure that all financial matters are clear to you. Our fee schedule is available upon request. We will bill your insurance company directly for the facility portion of your surgery. Our billing manager can answer any financial questions pertaining to your procedure. Please contact our billing manager or our financial services department at 973-419-0200, ext. 145.

Questions About Surgical Procedures:

This technique involves using an endoscope, which is a thin tube with a micro video camera on the end of it that is inserted through a small incision near the area that is affected. The incision is less than an inch in size.

The camera allows for images of the spine to be projected onto a video screen, where the surgeon can easily view the affected area. A laser, which is a focused light beam, is then used to perform the surgery to repair or remove the affected tissue. This avoids using a scalpel, and minimizes discomfort and recovery following the surgery.

This type of surgery is found to be as effective or even more effective than traditional open spinal surgery. It allows for the preservation of spinal motion by avoiding fusion techniques. Recovery time can take as little as a few days to weeks rather than traditional methods, which could last months or even years. Due to its minimally invasive nature, general anesthesia is usually unnecessary, thereby avoiding the risks by using local or sedative anesthesia. As only a small incision is made, there is very little bleeding, if any. It also has a much lower rate of complications following surgery than that of standard open surgery techniques.

Treatment has been found to be effective for such conditions as bone spurs, bulging discs, stenosis, herniated disc, facet joint disease, sciatica, spondylolisthesis and others. Consult with our caring medical team to discuss your condition and how we may be able to help you.

Minimally invasive spine surgery involves an incision of less than an inch. With our very fine instruments, we are able to go between muscle to get to the problem in your spine.

Be aware that some physicians will say they perform minimally invasive surgery simply because they make a small incision. However, if they are using retractors to tear muscle, they are doing damage to the tissues and this is not TRUE minimally invasive surgery.

In addition, spinal surgery with an incision of greater than an inch is not minimally invasive. The term 'microsurgery' only implies the use of the microscope.

These procedures require a unique combination of skills that take time to acquire. They are cutting-edge techniques. We believe that with time these procedures will replace most open surgeries of the spine just as open orthopedic knee and shoulder surgery has been largely replaced by endoscopic techniques. The same is true of general surgery as well as gynecological surgery and urology. This is the future and it is available today!

The major issue with conventional surgery is that it is too destructive in its approach for the problem that is being treated. The larger the incision the more the collateral damage and consequential scar tissue that forms. This scar tissue in turn can be the result of future difficulties. This is why even after an initially successful open procedure the pain may return over the ensuing months.

Questions About What You Can Expect:

Yes. Our staff will review your pre-procedure instructions at the time you schedule your appointment. Some general guidelines for all patients scheduled for a procedure are you should discontinue any medications containing aspirin and/or any anti-inflammatory medications for 5 to 7 days prior to your appointment and you must bring someone with you to drive you home.

If you are taking any blood thinners such as Coumadin, Plavix, Ticlid or Lovenox, please contact our office for additional instructions. We will also ask that you not eat or drink for several hours prior to your procedure, but this time frame will vary and you should contact our office for your specific instructions.

Most patients will arrive early on the morning of surgery as all major spinal cases are scheduled as first cases. After you are registered for surgery, you will meet the surgical nurses and anesthesiologist who will be caring for you. Shortly before you enter the operating room, your surgeon will visit you and briefly discuss the surgery to be performed.

You will go from the operating room to the recovery room for several hours before you are discharged.

As soon as your surgeon leaves the operating room, he will meet with your family in the family waiting room area. It is usually possible for a family member to see the patient about one hour after surgery.

After patients are discharged, there are few restrictions. Specific details of restrictions and precautions will be provided by the surgical staff.

At the time surgery is scheduled, a follow-up appointment also is scheduled for approximately four weeks after surgery. Between appointments, physicians are available 24 hours a day for questions and are in regular contact with patients.

Pain relief occurs very rapidly after cervical (neck) operations and lumbar decompressions. These patients rarely require narcotics for more than a week or two. Larger lumbar reconstructions (with fusion) may require narcotics for up to several weeks. Our goal is to diagnose and correct disorders causing pain so that long-term narcotics are unnecessary. Therefore, we do not prescribe long-term narcotics for outpatients.

The speed with which patients can return to normal activities varies considerably with the type of spinal surgery. After most decompressions, patients resume normal activities within 4 - 6 weeks. After fusions, the process is much more gradual. Activity levels advance as the fusion matures.

Permitted activities increase in the 1-3 month timeframe such that most patients are able to perform all normal activities in the three month timeframe. Formal strengthening exercises typically begin in the three month timeframe. An acceptable date to return to work varies depending on specific conditions and type of surgery. This is discussed at length prior to surgery and also during follow-up visits.