Minimally invasive spine surgery (MIS) is a surgical option for those who prefer a less intrusive form of surgery. Typical spine surgery involves long and sometimes deep incisions. MIS uses the smallest incisions possible. It is designed to minimize scarring and damage to the muscular tissue that may be compromised in spinal surgery.
With MIS, the surgeon works through tubular dilators in order to get a clear visual of the operation area without causing significant scarring. As the muscle tissue is simply dilated apart during the procedure, it is easily restored to its normal anatomic position when the surgery is completed.
Image-guided technology allows the surgeon to have a virtual image of the spine. Through this, the surgeon can view the spine in its entirety, in addition to screws and their trajectory. Image-guided technology also allows the doctor to perform more precise screw placement and decreases the chances of a misplaced screw.
MIS has proved beneficial for patients as it reduces blood loss and postoperative pain. With less pain, the need for narcotics after surgery decreases. Some minimally invasive procedures may be done on an outpatient basis, while some may require a short, one-to-three day hospital stay due to the fast recovery process.
Many spine surgeries can be performed through an MIS approach, however MIS is not ideal for every single case and every type of patient. Talk to your doctor about MIS to find out if you might be a good candidate for the procedure.