8 Benefits of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

With a vast interest in minimally invasive options being apparent among candidates for spine surgery, Dr. Marc A. Cohen of the Spine Institute invites you into the operating room for a look at the procedure in the above video. Although Dr. Cohen touches base on why minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) is beneficial for patients, we would like to provide you with a more in-depth explanation as to why it is the better option in comparison to traditional open back surgery. Below you can find a detailed list of benefits and advantages of MISS.

Small Incision
Traditional open back surgery requires an incision that is over 6 inches because the surgeon has to “retract,” or move the muscles in order to view the spine and the problem area. In minimally invasive surgeries, the surgeon only needs to make little “keyhole” incisions that can vary anywhere from 7mm (1/4 inch) to less than 1 inch depending on the type of procedure.

No Muscle or Tissue Damage
When surgeons use muscle retraction in open surgery to access the spine, they often cause damage to the muscles and the surrounding soft tissue. In minimally invasive procedures, surgeons use a small tube called a tubular retractor to access the precise problem area in the spine and it is through this specialized tool that the surgery is performed. Surgeons use smaller instruments to go through the tunnel of the tubular retractor to remove any disc material or insert any screws or rods that are necessary for fusions. At the end of the procedure, the surgeon then removes the tubular retractor and the muscles return back to their original position. Therefore, the surgeon is able to operate directly on the pinpoint problem without damaging any of the surrounding areas, like muscles and soft tissue, which commonly occurs in open back surgeries.

Completion in an Hour
The advancement in medical technology allows surgeons the ability to perform minimally invasive procedures in less than an hour now. In these state-of-the-art surgical environments, surgeons are able to operate using specialized instruments and view their operations in real-time on a big screen using specialized video cameras, such as an endoscope, that are passed through the small incisions. These advancements allow for more precise surgeries that can be completed in shorter times.

Less Complications
In any surgery, there are always risks of complications that have to be explained to patients. However, the risks of complications are reduced in minimally invasive spine surgery when compared to open back surgery. Since the surgeon only has to make a small incision and has the capability to view the surgery within the body through an endoscope, the risks of infection and blood loss are reduced.

Less Pain Medication Required
Post-operative pain is significantly less in minimally invasive surgeries because these techniques do not damage muscles and soft tissue like open back surgeries do. Because patients don’t experience the excruciating pain that is commonly felt after open back procedures, less pain medication is required and this reduces the chances of addiction.

No Hospital Stay
Of the 600,000 spine surgeries performed nationwide, only 10 percent are done in an outpatient setting. After minimally invasive spine surgeries, patients are now able to go home the same day to recover in the comfort of their own homes instead of recovering at a hospital for up to 5 days after open back surgery. In most instances, patients feel instant relief and have less to recover from now that these surgeries do not cause as much muscle or soft tissue damage.

Lower Costs
Patients may wonder how minimally invasive surgeries can be offered at a lower cost than open back surgeries if they are being performed with more advanced, high quality technology. Well that could be mainly due to the fact that patients are not incurring the hospital charges that they would with open back surgery since they are not staying to recover for as long. Also, physician costs are cheaper since these types of minimally invasive procedures are much quicker to perform. Therefore, minimally invasive surgeries offer patients higher quality procedures at a lower cost.

Shorter Recovery Time
Patients no longer have to spend over a week in the hospital and spend months trying to recover after their surgery. Now with MISS, patients get to go home the same day and recover in the comfort of their own home within 3-5 days. Here at the Spine Institute, there have been many occurrences where Dr. Marc Cohen has operated on patients during the middle of the week and they have been able to return back to work by Monday.

To offer a story in particular, Dr. Cohen had a patient who was a professional judo fighter and attended many judo competitions throughout the world. Every once in a while, he battled with lower back pain, but it got progressively worse. This patient spent months training for a very important upcoming competition, however, he was in desperate need of spine surgery. This patient decided to have Dr. Cohen perform minimally invasive spine surgery and remarkably, he was recovered and ready to compete a week later in his competition.

With over 30 years of experience, our team of medical professionals here at the Spine Institute in New Jersey are dedicated to getting everyone back to the active lifestyle they deserve. We do not believe that back pain should hinder anyone from making memories. Everyone should be allowed to hold their children pain-free, take a walk to see beautiful scenery with the ones they love, or enjoy the hobbies that make them happiest.

Dr. Marc A. Cohen is a leader in endoscopic laser spine surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery, and he is committed to providing individualized care for patients to reach their optimal health. If you are experiencing back pain and are interested in a free MRI review, please contact our office to schedule a consultation at 973-538-4444 or learn more at www.spineinstitute-nj.com.