Why minimally invasive back surgery may be more effective for your lumbar degenerative disc disease
If you have already received months of conservative treatment for your lumbar degenerative disc disease but are still suffering from uncontrollable pain and reduced functioning, you may be considering surgery as an option. While doctors traditionally performed open back surgeries to treat the problems associated with degenerative disc diseases of the lumbar region, minimally invasive back surgery may be a better option for you. These procedures may offer you a much shorter recovery time and faster symptom relief.
How minimally invasive back surgery works
When you have a minimally invasive surgical procedure scheduled with the doctors at the Northwest Spine Institute, you may expect to be able to have the procedure performed and to leave the same day. You might have a procedure to correct such problems as spinal stenosis. In this procedure, your doctor will use a needle that will be endoscopically guided to correct the problem. Your doctor may perform a laser spine surgery to fix a spinal decompression by precisely removing the fragments or bones that are compressing your spine or your nerves. This may provide you with relief from the pain caused by the pressure the disc is placing on your nerves.
You may instead have a lumbar facet fusion procedure performed with endoscopic assistance. This will involve your doctor making several tiny incisions. Then, using fluoroscopic guidance, your doctor will insert a facet screw system to stabilize your spine. Then, after removing a small piece of bone or a portion of your disc, your doctor may then insert a spacer cage and fill it with a bone graft, allowing your facets to fuse together.
What you might expect with minimally invasive surgery
Most patients who undergo a minimally invasive back surgery are able to have their procedures performed on an outpatient basis, leaving the surgery center the same day. Before your surgery, you will first have x-rays, MRIs or CT scans performed so that your doctor can identify the discs that are causing the problems. Following your surgery, you should expect the time that you will spend in recovery to be significantly less than if you instead had open surgery.
The effectiveness of minimally invasive surgery for your back
Research comparing open surgeries with minimally invasive surgeries for the back have shown that minimally invasive surgeries can offer better results than open surgeries. A minimally invasive surgery may offer you the following benefits:
- Lowered infection risk
- Reduced blood loss
- Less pain associated with the procedure
- Less time to get back on your feet and go back to work
A 2011 study that was published in the SAS Journal further found that minimally invasive lumbar fusion surgeries averaged about $4,000 less than open lumbar fusion surgeries. Similarly, a 2012 study that was published in the Journal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques found that the average costs of one- and two-level lumbar fusion procedures were substantially lower for the minimally invasive surgeries. Since these procedures may be performed on an outpatient basis, you may save a significant amount of money because you won’t need to stay for several days in the hospital.
A minimally invasive spine surgery for your lumbar degenerative disc disease may provide you with the benefit of better effectiveness, shorter recovery periods and reduced costs. To learn more about how minimally invasive laser spine surgery and other endoscopic surgical procedures might help you, call the Spine Institute Northwest at (888) 712-0318 to schedule your consultation today.