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Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) is an approach to various types of spine surgery that is different than a traditional open procedure. When a similar surgery can be done with minimally invasive techniques, there are fewer risks associated with the procedure. Several conditions may be treated with MISS.
A herniated disc occurs when the discs, which are located between each vertebra, begin to push on the surrounding tissue. In minor cases of disc herniation, the problem may be managed with conservative approaches such as rest and physical therapy to reduce pressure on the spine. More significant instances of disc herniation may require surgery because the disc is pressing on surrounding nerves or the spinal cord itself. The amount of the disc that needs to be removed will be contingent upon how much of the herniated disc is causing problems. If only a small portion of the disc is herniated, the surgeon may only need to remove that portion of the disc. When significant herniation occurs, the entire disc may need to be removed. If the entire disc is removed, the space will need to be filled with a substance that fuses the two vertebrae together. Since disc herniation is typically confined to a smaller area, MISS may be an ideal approach.
Several conditions can cause spinal compression. For many people, spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the spinal column, is the underlying cause. However, an injury, such as fractured vertebrae may also cause pressure on the spinal cord, requiring decompression. For people with spinal stenosis, there are two types of procedures that may be appropriate. A procedure to expand the foramen, which is the opening through which the spinal cord passes, can be done to allow more space for the spinal cord. Removing all or part of the vertebrae can be an option to stop compression of the spinal cord or the spinal nerves as they leave the spinal cord. If the cause is a fracture, the surgeon may remove any bone fragments causing the compression and repair the damaged vertebrae. When spinal compression is confined to a small area, it is more likely the surgeon can avoid an open procedure.
Several conditions can lead to spinal instability, such as an acute injury or scoliosis, which is an abnormal curvature of the spine. Minor issues with instability that occur in limited areas of the spine may be fixed by fusing two or more vertebrae. When instability occurs in areas of the spine where there is a curvature of the spine, a metal cage may be needed to add support to the spine, while maintaining the curvature. MISS may be an option if the repairs need to be done at fewer levels of the spine. If there are many areas of the spine that need to be stabilized, it is less likely MISS will be an option.
Spine surgery is a complicated procedure due to the sensitive nature of the spinal cord and spinal nerves. MISS can be an option for some patients, which may reduce the risks associated with open surgery, such as infection and bleeding.Share