Minimally-invasive spine surgery employ techniques that use very small incisions to perform some types of spine procedures like lumbar discectomy or cervical discectomy. The surgeon uses special technology and instruments designed to be used through small incisions. While traditional open spine surgery cuts through muscles and other tissues to access the spine, minimally-invasive approaches dilate or move the muscles and surrounding tissues without cutting through them. As a result, these techniques cause less tissue damage and less bleeding, and patients typically recover much more quickly and with less discomfort compared to recovery following open spine surgery.
Lumbar discectomy is performed to relieve chronic symptoms caused by nerve compression in the lower spine. During the procedure, a small incision is made in the lower back over the damaged area and the muscles of the back are gently separated. A tube-shaped device is inserted into the incision to create an opening for the surgical instruments. The source of compression is treated by removing all or part of a disc or removing bone spurs, and a spinal fusion procedure may be performed to stabilize the area. Once the procedure is complete, the incision is closed and a small bandage is applied.
Minimally-invasive cervical discectomy is a procedure performed to relieve pressure on the nerves in the neck so chronic pain and related symptoms can be alleviated. The procedure is performed in the same way as a minimally-invasive lumbar discectomy, but the incision is made in the front (an anterior approach) or the back (a posterior approach) of the neck. Spinal fusion may also be performed to stabilize the spine, especially if the disc or a portion of bone is removed.
That depends on the issue being treated and other factors. Not all spine surgeries can be performed using minimally-invasive techniques, and not every patient is a good candidate for minimally-invasive surgery. The decision of which approach to use will be made following an in-depth evaluation.