4 Benefits of Endoscopic and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

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4 Benefits of Endoscopic and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Few medical problems can wreak havoc on your life as much as chronic back and neck pain. The debilitating pain can lead to missed days at work and living your life from the sidelines in so much pain that standing or walking is nearly impossible without excruciating pain.

When you started exploring treatment options, surgery was probably toward the bottom of your list. But if your pain hasn’t gone away after several months of treatment, it may be time to explore your surgical options, says fellowship-trained board-certified minimally invasive spine surgeon Neil Bhamb, MD

Today, minimally invasive spine surgery options come with some surprising benefits.

Minimally invasive versus endoscopic spine surgery
Let’s start by first defining what minimally invasive and endoscopic spine surgery are in the first place. Whenever comparing surgical approaches, the benchmark is traditional open surgery, named for how the body is accessed. 

In the case of open spine surgery, the surgeon cuts into the back and makes an incision about six inches long. The surgeon then gets to the treatment area by cutting through muscles and soft tissue around the spine and in some cases, removing tissue.  

Compared to open spine surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery, or MISS, is a surgical approach that causes less trauma to the body. Specifically, Dr. Bhamb makes a small incision and uses a tubular retractor to separate muscles from the spine to gain access to the surgical area instead of cutting through muscles. He uses this pathway to get the specialized surgical tools to the site and perform the surgery. 

Endoscopic spine surgery, or ESS, refers to a specific advanced level of minimally invasive spine surgery. Similar to the minimally invasive spine surgery approach, Dr. Bhamb makes tiny incisions but uses small tools and leverages additional guidance by using an endoscope or camera to view the vertebrae along with small tubular systems so he can address spine problems. 

Typically, the ESS surgical approach preserves even more tissue and muscle than the standard MISS approach; it offers the extra benefit of enhanced range of spine mobility post-surgery. 

The minimally invasive surgery difference
As a patient, once you change from open surgery to endoscopic or minimally invasive spine surgery, the benefits are dramatically different. 

Specifically, since endoscopic and minimally invasive spine surgeries access the spine through a much smaller incision, which causes less trauma to tissue and muscles, a series of benefits fall into place for you. 

These benefits become critical deciding factors when exploring surgery to address chronic back or neck pain. 

The following are four benefits of endoscopic and minimally invasive spine surgery:

  1. Reduced risk of infection and complications
    Chief among these MISS and ESS benefits are a reduced risk of infection and surgical complications. Simply put, smaller incisions and reduced trauma to muscles and tissues translate to less blood loss, but more importantly, it means wounds and areas are less vulnerable to germs and infections.

  2. Shorter hospital stays 
    Similarly, since MISS and ESS cause less trauma to tissue and muscles, the surgery requires less anesthesia and the need for a hospital stay. Depending on how quickly a patient rebounds after surgery, an open spine surgery may require about a week compared to three to five days with MISS or ESS.

    In some cases, minimally invasive spine surgery can be an outpatient procedure. Although patients can go home the same day of their surgery, they typically need to stay for a couple of hours after the surgery so their health care provider can watch for possible complications.   
  1. Less pain after surgery
    Another great benefit of choosing a surgical approach that causes less trauma is that the patient experiences less pain than traditional surgery. Less pain requires less pain medication to feel comfortable after surgery as you begin healing.
  1. Expedited recovery time
    Perhaps the best news for patients challenged by chronic back and neck pain is that choosing minimally invasive spine surgery can dramatically expedite your recovery time to a few months instead of up to a year. Imagine living without pain, getting back to living life, and returning to work quicker.

If you are tired of living on the sidelines in pain and want to learn if minimally invasive or endoscopic spine surgery is right for you, contact Dr. Bhamb at our Century City in Los Angeles or Marina Del Rey, California, office today to book a consultation. Call or book your appointment online.