Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) spinal fusion can now be done using two small poke-hole incisions with minimal dissection, blood loss and less pain, resulting in a faster recovery than traditional open spinal surgery. With traditional spinal surgery, it is necessary to cut through muscles and pull them out of the way in order to reach the spine. Causing a large amount of pain and blood loss, this also lengthens recovery. By gently spreading through the muscles, the MIS technique allows us to reach the spine with much less pain and blood loss.

Using the MIS technique, a transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) is the most common procedure. The MIS TLIF is commonly performed for a multitude of spinal conditions, including herniated disks, spondylolisthesis and degenerative disc disease. A MIS TLIF involves relieving back and leg pain by removing any pressure on the nerve along with removing the disk. The disk is then replaced with a bone graft spacer, through which the vertebrae will fuse together. Small screws connected by rods are also inserted, holding the spacer in place to allow fusion to occur.

There are several advantages to MIS, the greatest of which is less damage to surrounding tissues. In fact, there is rarely a need for a blood transfusion. Hospital stays are usually shorter and there is often less need for narcotic pain medications. Most patients are actually up and walking within an hour of the procedure and can go home the same day.