In the past, patients in need of spinal surgery had to endure a very invasive procedure where the back was opened by a large incision. Muscles were stripped from the spinal column so the surgeon could make repairs to herniated discs or remove bone spurs. The result was a high risk of infection and long recovery times.
Today, modern technology has eliminated the need for most open spinal surgeries. Instead, minimally invasive spinal surgery can take care of the problem and get the patient back to normal within a matter of weeks.
Unlike traditional surgeries, minimally invasive surgery does not require large incisions. Instead, one or more small incisions are made so that a magnifying glass and camera are passed into the incision and tunnels through the muscle, leaving it mostly intact. If needed, small surgical instruments can pass through the same tunnel to perform repairs, such as a discectomy, or removal of a disc.
The benefits of minimally invasive include less scarring, reduced chance of infection, and shorter recovery times. Patients can recover in as little as 2-6 weeks, depending on the procedure, rather than 4-6 months or longer.