Moderate to severe operations on the spine always carry a certain risk. Chronic pain can develop or static structures can be impaired. An injury to the nerve tracts during an open surgical procedure can have serious consequences. Minimally invasive spine surgery has many advantages over invasive surgical techniques. These include faster wound healing, shorter rehabilitation times and smaller scars.
The greatest risk for the patient is possibly the general anesthetic under which the operation takes place. Minimally invasive spinal surgery does not involve this risk. Another advantage is that only small incisions are required to insert the surgical instruments. Because of relatively little pain, the wounds heal quickly and there is less scarring than open surgery. A minimally invasive surgical technique is better for the cardiovascular system and the affected tissue.
Preliminary examinations before an intervention
The necessary preliminary examinations before the intervention of the minimally invasive spine surgery are usually carried out in the hospital. This includes a blood sample for current blood values, a current X-ray image or an examination of magnetic resonance imaging. Many patients also need an ECG so that the cardiovascular functions can be correctly assessed and possible risks can be ruled out.
A preliminary talk with the anesthetist on the day before the procedure informs the patient about possible risks. The doctor is informed about medications that the patient is taking and may need to stop those. Blood thinners play a crucial role in older patients. These can lead to major complications during spinal surgery.
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Different methods of minimally invasive spinal surgery
The technique of minimally invasive spinal surgery has seen advancement in recent time. There are different methods.
Minimally invasive microsurgical spine surgery
It got its name from the fact that the surgeon works with a visual aid that greatly enlarges the affected area. This enables him to recognize and operate on particularly small and fine structures.
Minimally invasive Percutaneous spine surgery
A small tube is inserted into the skin in front of the affected area with this method. Through this small opening, the doctor inserts all the instruments that are needed for the operation. At the same time, this passage can be used to remove the affected tissue.
Minimally invasive endoscopic spine surgery
This technique uses an endoscope. As a camera, the endoscope provides an image of the area. It allows the surgeon and surgical team to view the area. All instruments required for a minimally invasive endoscopic intervention can be introduced into the endoscope via special working channels.
All of these methods have in common that they can be carried out with just a few short skin incisions. As a result, the wound healing is faster and less noticeable than with conventional interventions.
Chances of recovery after surgery
The chances of recovery are good. After minimally invasive spinal surgery, the patient is often pain-free immediately after the procedure. The symptoms caused by the minimally invasive operation itself are minor and quickly subside. Since the muscles are also spared during the minimally invasive procedure, the patient can quickly return to his professional and private everyday life.