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Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Using the latest in spinal surgery technology, tools, and instruments, spinal doctors in the Seattle and Puyallup Washington, provide minimally invasive spinal surgery (MISS) that allows patients to reap the full benefits of the procedure.

Benefits and Advantages of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery include:

  • Faster recovery time than open spine surgery
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Less soft-tissue damage
  • Less post-surgery pain
  • Smaller surgical incisions
  • Less scarring
  • Improved function
  • Shorter post-operation hospitalization

What Makes Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Different from Open Spine Surgery?

Traditional open spinal surgery requires doctors to make an incision that is typically 5–6 inches long, then move the muscles along the spine to the side to gain access needed to perform the surgery. While the purpose of moving the muscles along the spine is to allow the doctor to see the problem area, that pulling on the muscle can cause soft-tissue damage. As a result, patients often experience post-surgery pain that is different from previous pain, and endure a longer recovery time.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery was developed to treat spinal problems just as effectively as the open spine surgery but with less injury to the muscles, a shorter recovery time, and minimized hospital stays.

How Are Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeries Performed?

The doctor makes a small incision near the problem area of the back, then guides a tubular retractor through the muscles down to the spinal column, which is kept in place throughout the procedure. The insertion of the tubular retractor creates a tunnel to the problem area on the spine and holds the muscles open.

Using small instruments that fit through the center of the tubular retractor, the doctor can access the problem area of the spine to carry out the rest of the procedure. When the operation is complete, the doctor removes the tubular retractor, and the muscles return to their original position.

Decreasing the size of the incision and the movement of the anatomy around the spine limits muscle damage and eliminates the post-surgery back pain common to open spine surgeries.

What Can Be Expected Following Surgery?

Post-operation recovery time varies for each patient and depends on the individual procedure, but generally, the required hospital stay is two to three days. We offer some minimally invasive spinal procedures that allow patients to leave the same day as the operation.

What Are the Potential Complications Associated with Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

As with any operation, complications may occur. Common complications and risks for minimally invasive spine surgery are:

  • Infections – Patients are consistently given antibiotics before, during, and after surgery to lessen the risk of infection.
  • Recurring symptoms – Occasionally, some patients continue to experience their original symptoms.
  • Pseudarthrosis – Patients who smoke are more likely to develop a pseudarthrosis, or false joint. If this occurs, a second surgery may be necessary to obtain a solid fusion.
  • Nerve damage – While very rare, it is possible for nerve damage to occur during surgery.
  • Blood clots – Also a less common complication, blood clots can form in the leg, which can be dangerous if they break off and travel to the lungs.

Types of Minimally Invasive Surgeries Performed at Microsurgical Spine Center

The following operations are safely performed at our orthopedic outpatient surgery center:

  • Microdiscectomy (cervical and lumbar)
  • Microsurgery with tubular retractors
  • Laminoforaminotomy (cervical and lumbar)
  • Anterior cervical fusion with cages and plates
  • Percutaneous pedicle screw fixation
  • XLIF (extreme lateral lumbar interbody fusion)
  • X-Stop (interspinous process decompression)
  • Aspen (interspinous process fusion)
  • ILIF (interspinous process fusion)

Our neurosurgeons and spine specialists are skilled in these specific procedures and would be happy to discuss the benefits with you. If you’re in the Seattle, Washington, area, contact us or call our dedicated Medical Concierge at 253-841-8939 to set up an appointment.