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If you are dealing with spinal instability, such as spinal tumors, herniated discs, scoliosis, or bone spurs, then your orthopedist might recommend spinal surgery. There are two main ways to access the spine: with traditional open surgery or minimally-invasive spinal surgery. Read on to learn about these two surgical options and their pros and cons.
What Are the Differences Between the Two?
During traditional open surgery, your surgeon would use longer incisions and cut through muscle and tendons to access the affected spinal area. Because traditional surgery is more invasive, you may have a longer recovery time.
During minimally-invasive spinal surgery (MIS), your surgeon will create a narrow opening to access the spine. Instead of using large muscle dissecting retractors, minimally-invasive spinal surgery uses small tube-shaped retractors. During MIS, your doctor would use a microscope and x-ray fluoroscopy to get a visual of the treatment area.
So is MIS Better Than Open Surgery?
Not necessarily. While MIS is a great surgical option, it's not a good route for certain kinds of defects, like lumbar spinal stenosis. According to one study, the evidence did not support MIS over open surgery for cervical or lumbar disc herniation. However, the same study did say that MIS could be beneficial during fusion cases—especially in reducing overall costs.
What are the Main Advantages of Both Surgeries?
If you do a little web research, you will see that MIS is a newer procedure, so there is more evidence and experience behind open spinal surgery. While open surgery does have a longer recovery time, there is usually only one procedure. With MIS, you may need additional procedures to completely fix the problem.
Another benefit of open surgery is that there is less radiation exposure. During MIS, your surgeon will need to use fluoroscopic guidance, which can increase both the surgeon and the patient's risk of radiation exposure.
One great benefit of MIS is that some surgeries are outpatient procedures and may only need a local anesthetic. If you have allergies or have had adverse reactions to general anesthesia in the past, then MIS could be a great option to reduce your anxiety levels.
Do you have trouble healing? MIS could be a better option since there is minimal blood loss and less of a need for blood transfusions. With MIS there is less post-operative pain and less chance of scarring.
As you can see, both types of surgeries have their pros and cons, but the main thing to keep in mind is that both surgeries are intended to correct your spinal issues and improve your quality of life. Reach out to an orthopedist to learn more about your specific problem and to weigh the pros and cons of each surgical route, like Town Center Orthopaedic Associates, P.C.Share