No one actually wants to have surgery; the orthopedic surgeons at Oasis Orthopedic & Spine want to be able to solve your back pain without ever picking up a scalpel. But if surgery is the correct course of action for your specific spine condition, Oasis Orthopedic & Spine prefers minimally invasive spine surgeries (MISS) over traditional open back surgeries.
Open Back Surgery Vs. Minimally Invasive Surgery
If a patient is suffering from spine or back pain, the last thing you want to do is introduce more discomfort and trauma to their situation. Unfortunately, this is often what happens with traditional open back surgeries. Traditional open back surgery requires the doctor to make a large incision, cutting into muscle and soft tissue, to expose the spine and visualize the surgical area. This disruption means that healthy muscles are experiencing trauma, adding more time, risk and pain to the recovery process.
Minimally invasive spine surgery uses a smaller incision and a tubular retractor that gently pushes aside muscle and soft tissue that surround the spine. The retractor creates a tunnel, giving surgical tools and a camera access to the problem area. This camera displays on a screen that the surgeons use to guide their movements. Benefits to having minimally invasive surgery instead of open surgery include:
- Less bleeding
- Less scarring
- Less damage to surrounding tissue
- Faster recovery
Generally, there are two reasons someone would need a minimally invasive spine surgery; a degenerative condition or trauma. Trauma can include car accidents and work-related injuries among a wide variety of personal injury possibilities. Additionally, you can also have degenerative issues that result from trauma.
We caught up with Dr. Sujal Patel, an American Board of Orthopedic Surgery certified spine surgeon and expert at Oasis Orthopedic and Spine, to discover the top 3 most commonly asked questions (and get the answers) about outpatient minimally invasive spine surgeries.
1. How big is the incision?
Dr. Patel: “In minimally invasive spine surgeries, incisions are much smaller than in traditional open surgeries. While it can vary depending on the specific procedure, most incisions for minimally invasive surgeries are between 1 and 5 centimeters (0.4 and 2 inches). With traditional open back surgeries, incisions are going to be much longer, at least twice the length of a minimally invasive incision.”
2. What is the recovery time?
Dr. Patel: “The recovery time for minimally invasive surgery is quicker than a traditional open back surgery. Depending on the specific minimally invasive spine surgery, recovery could be between 6 and 8 weeks. For example, for lumbar discectomy, patients are up and walking around right away; they’re back to work and everything within a few weeks.”
3. Will I be in less pain after the surgery?
Dr. Patel: “Unlike traditional open back surgery, during a minimally invasive surgery, we’re not cutting or bisecting soft tissues such as muscle. We’re basically dilating through muscle, gently pushing it aside to complete the procedure, instead of having to cut through the muscle, which improves pain postoperatively.
It is also important to think about your spine health after your recovery is complete. For example, I usually tell my patients who work at a desk all day, to take breaks every half hour to 40 minutes. During these breaks, it is best to stand up and walk around a bit. Maintaining a good posture and ergonomics can help your spine stay healthy and pain-free longer.”
The Convenience of Outpatient MISS
One of the most underestimated values of a minimally invasive spine procedure at Oasis Orthopedic & Spine is that it can be completed as an outpatient. This means you don’t have to put your entire life on hold for surgery. You can skip the overnight stay in a hospital room and return to your own home within hours of completing the surgery. For some patients, an inpatient surgery is not feasible; it means more time off from work is needed, finding childcare while you are in the hospital, and it’s disruptive to your daily life. As an outpatient, you can get back to your life and family quickly (and with less pain).
A surgical treatment for back pain may not be the right course of action for most people suffering from a spine condition. But if you have exhausted all non-surgical treatments without success and despite everything, your pain is worsening, the experts at Oasis Orthopedic & Spine can help you find out if a minimally invasive spine surgery is right for you. Request an appointment to get started on your path to a pain free life today.
Oasis Orthopedic & Spine offers telehealth appointments in addition to in-person appointments.
We are dedicated to your safety during COVID-19 and are actively practicing the COVID-19 Safe Care Protocols at all of our locations so you can find the pain relief you deserve.