What is minimally invasive spine surgery? | Dr. Andrew Cash, MD Las Vegas, Nevada

By Brooke Strickland and Andrew Cash, MD 

Odds are that if you’ve been told that you need surgery, you’re a little nervous.  Surgery is a big deal and surgery on your spine is a very big deal.  However, with the advances in minimally invasive spine surgery, these types of surgical procedures are better and safer than they ever have been. 

What is Minimally invasive spine surgery?

Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) uses advanced technology and ground-breaking techniques to treat back and neck pain, as well as correct a range of disorders of the back and spine. Some of the types of conditions that this type of surgery can help correct include herniated discs, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, and degenerative disc disease.  MISS was first started in the 1980s, but since then, advances to computer technology and the development of innovative surgical tools, individuals who have this surgery usually recover more quickly, have smaller incisions, and have less pain after surgery.

What are the goals of MISS?

There are two main objectives for patients having MISS.  It could either be to help alleviate pressure that has been put on the spinal cord of the nerves of the spine.  Surgery can help relieve the pain associated with pinched nerves.  Other times, patients may need a condition stabilized or corrected through surgery.  This often requires more surgical instruments.

What are the types of MISS?

Mini-open:  This surgery is comparable to an open procedure but has less risk, including less blood loss during surgery.  In addition, because the incisions are very small, there is a lower risk of developing post-surgery infection.

Tubular:  This surgery uses a tubular retractor that acts like a tunnel that goes through the patient’s back muscles to get to the spine.  This surgery also has less risk of blood loss during the surgery and a lower risk for muscle damage than traditional back surgery. 

Endoscopic:  This type of surgery uses a small video camera at the end of an endoscope (which is smaller than a dime) that is passed through small back incisions on the patient.  This procedure allows the surgeons to see the inside of the patient’s body during the surgery on a screen during the surgery. 

Surgery is often a last resort for many doctors and patients and will only be advised if the non-surgical treatments, such as physical therapy, pain management, and physical rest, have not worked.  If you think you’re a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery, it’s important to talk to your doctor in great detail to see if it’s an option. 

Contact Dr. Cash at Desert Institute of Spine Care for an appointment at: http://www.disclv.com.

You can also view Dr. Cash's Verified Reviews® at www.medrounds.org/Dr_Andrew_Cash or his personal page at www.andrew-cash-md.com.