Differences Between Conventional and Micro Spine Surgery

As someone who may be considering surgery for your back pain, you may be wondering the differences between minimally invasive spine surgery and conventional open back surgery. It’s important for you as the patient to understand what your options are, so we have broken several key points down to the list below.

They Are Similar in Outcome

Open back surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery both aim to relieve the pain you are experiencing, usually by correcting a misaligned bone or growth within your spinal column. The minimally invasive technique requires the hand of a skilled, experienced surgeon compared to a traditional back surgery. You should expect the minimal method done by somebody who has spent at least hundreds of hours practicing the technique. Once the surgeon has that experience, you can expect several noticeable differences from a minimally invasive surgery such as less blood loss, less postoperative pain, less chance of infection, and quicker recovery.

Minimally Invasive Surgery Costs Less

In general, a minimally invasive spine surgery will cost less than a traditional open back surgery. For example, the Scholars Academic and Scientific Society (SAS) Journal reported back in 2011 that a lumbar interbody fusion (a type of spine surgery) done with the minimally invasive method cost several thousand dollars less than its open back surgery equivalent. Doctors can also perform minimally invasive surgeries in an outpatient setting, which means no in-hospital stay that could add costs for the patient.

Long Term Results are Changing

Minimally invasive spine surgery is still relatively new in the medical field. However, enough time has passed that studies can better conclude the long term results of minimally invasive techniques. For example, patients who have undergone minimal surgery for back pain treatments such as disc replacements and lateral spine surgery are reporting to be doing as well or better compared to the results of traditional open back spinal fusion surgery.

Open Back Surgery is Still Taught First

Despite the advancing technology and research driving minimally invasive spine surgery, new and old surgeons are still encouraged to learn and internalize the open back method first before moving on towards the less invasive options. Medical programs still struggle to determine how much training a new surgeon would need before being able to perform minimally invasive spine surgery. Doctor Marc Cohen is one of the few doctors known for his skill in minimally invasive micro spine surgery as well as laser spine surgery. If you believe minimally invasive surgery is right for your back pain, contact one of our Spine Institute offices today to set up an appointment.