Minimally Invasive Spine

Lawrence Shin, M.D.

Spinal surgery once meant large incisions, long recovery periods, and painful rehab. Fortunately, surgical advances like the microdiscectomy procedure have improved the process.

There are a number of advantages to minimally invasive spine surgery. While it can be used to address and treat the same conditions as traditional open surgery, recovery time, size of incisions, and the risks associated with open surgery are reduced dramatically.

This surgical procedure can be performed percutaneously (through the skin) or by way of a small incision. Procedures such as decompression and spinal fusion are completed using tiny surgical tools called tubular retractors. These are inserted and used to create a small tunnel to the damaged spinal tissue. This helps preserve surrounding anatomy within the spine. Muscle tissue is held open, allowing for clear access to the surgical site. Small instruments are inserted through the tunnel provided by the tubular retractor, and used to remove damaged bone and disk material, as well as insert necessary screws and rods in the spine.

During this procedure, a tool referred to as a fluoroscopy is used for visibility. This tool projects real time x-ray images throughout the procedure, allowing visibility of the spine as well as magnification of images as necessary.

After surgery, length of hospital stay will depend on the procedure performed and patient physicality. Risks associated with surgery include blood clots, allergic reactions, nerve and blood vessel damage, and anesthesia complications. Dr.Shin and staff will discuss with you a treatment plan. For optimal results, this often includes exercise and physical therapy methods.