Surgical procedures for back pain have come a long way in the last two decades. In the not-so-distant past, spine surgeons would need to make lengthy incisions into the muscles of your back in order to reach the problem areas of your spine and correct them. They would depend on their naked eye so find and correct your back condition. These procedures took a lot of time to complete and an even longer time for recovery, causing many patients to miss work for weeks or even months. It was expensive and full of risks, so it was often a patient’s last resort.
Medical technology continues to advance, though, and today there are number minimally and least invasive procedures available to many back sufferers to help them relieve their pain. If you are suffering from back pain and looking for a solution, it’s important that you learn about the benefits of these minimally invasive and least invasive spinal procedures so you can find the right treatment for your condition. The team at International Spine Institute can help you get answers to your questions about these surgical procedures and whether or not they might be right for you.
What Are the Benefits?
The incision that’s used in many of the minimally and least invasive surgeries is less than a half of an inch. That’s smaller than the diameter of a dime. These incisions allow the surgeons to insert HD cameras and microscopic tools that they then use to complete the procedure. Often, stitches aren’t even needed to close the incision. A simple band-aid is used instead. In the end, the patient has less scarring than they would with a traditional open back surgery.
However, the benefits don’t stop at cosmetic ones. There are a number of physical benefits, too. A smaller incision means that the spine surgeon doesn’t need to cut through back muscle to access the damaged area of the spine. That aids in the recovery time. It also means that the patient ends up with less scar tissue. Too much scar tissue can cause issues including the loss of range of motion in the back and additional pain.
Less recovery time.
If someone told you that they had back surgery, how long would you expect their recovery time to be? A couple months? Many patients who undergo an endoscopic procedure are up and walking around about an hour after surgery. While they’ll need to take care for a few days, most are cleared to return to work in a couple days and can resume their normal activities a short while later. That doesn’t only mean you can get back to the hobbies and activities that you love sooner, it also means that you won’t have to take as much time off of work. That can be a huge benefit since you’d probably like to be using that paid time off for something a lot more fun than recovering from back surgery.
Another big benefit from the shorter recovery time is the fact that you shouldn’t have to depend on prescription narcotics to manage your pain. Many patients experience little or no discomfort after their procedure; others may experience some slight pain at the site of the incision. This should be controlled by over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and painkillers and can lessen the risk of dependency on narcotics. If it isn’t or the pain becomes worse, you should contact your doctor right away.
Fewer chances for complications.
Any surgery comes with some risk of complications. But the more invasive the surgery, the great the risk of complications. Minimally invasive and least invasive procedures help eliminate a lot of the risk involved. First of all, the vast majority of these procedures can be done with a local anesthetic. That means there are none of the risks that would be associated with general anesthesia. There is also less risk of complications from blood loss because the incision site is so small, as well as a smaller risk for infection. According to a study published by the National Institute of Health in 2013, “Patients undergoing open spinal surgery were 5.77 times more likely to develop SSI [surgical site infections] compared with MIS [minimally invasive spine surgery] approaches.”
It may help surgeons be more accurate.
Many of these minimally invasive procedures utilize an HD camera that’s inserted into the incision in the patient’s back. These cameras provide the spine surgeon with a magnified view of the structure of the spine in HD detail. That can help them pinpoint damaged areas that they might not be able to see with their naked eye, which is what they’d use to examine the spine in a traditional open surgery. This level of visual detail provided for the surgeon can help them be much more accurate in both their diagnosis and their corrective measures. That means patients may be more likely to experience relief and not suffer from Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.
Are Minimally and Least Invasive Procedures Right for Every Case?
While these procedures work for the vast majority of back pain cases, they aren’t going to be the right choice for everyone. Some conditions, patients, and symptoms may require a traditional open surgery approach. It’s important that you work with a spine surgeon who understands both and can accurately diagnose the cause of your pain. Once they have an accurate diagnosis, they can work with you to develop a care and treatment plan using the methods they believe to be in your best interests.
We Can Help You Find the Right Treatment For Your Back Pain
Are you suffering from back pain? There is a good chance that one of our minimally invasive or least invasive spine procedures can help. Make an appointment for a free MRI review with our team of spine surgeons at The International Spine Institute of Baton Rouge. They can help you discover what’s causing your pain as well develop a care and treatment plan that will help you overcome your pain. Get in touch with us today to schedule your appointment. You can give us a call or contact us through our website.
You don’t have to live with pain. It’s time to find a treatment that can help you find relief!