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Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

The goal of minimally invasive spine surgery, or MIS, is to perform a procedure that effectively stabilizes the vertebrae or spinal joints, and to relieve any pressure on the spinal nerves. These symptoms are often associated with spinal instability, herniated discs, scoliosis, and spinal tumors.

How does minimally invasive spine surgery work?

The spinal structure was created by nature to protect the nerves and spinal cord within the spinal column. The nerves, vertebrae and discs are protected by muscle tissue that must be moved to access the area requiring a correction. This approach requires one or more small incisions, guided by technological advances such as microscopic video cameras placed within the incisions or microscopes with CT/O-Arm guided planning to reduce the size of the incision.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Santa Monica

What procedures can be performed with minimally invasive spine surgery?

Various conditions can be treated with minimally invasive spine surgery in Los Angeles, including:

Discectomy

Spinal discs act as cushions between the vertebral bones. When the disc is damaged or weak, the tissue within may extend outside the ring of cushion. The pressure of the tissue against the nerves leads to ongoing pain and discomfort. A treatment to correct a damaged disc can be performed with minimally invasive spine surgery in Santa Monica.

Spinal decompression

A narrowing of the vertebral bones can lead to spinal stenosis, in which the nerves are compressed and presenting symptoms such as pain, numbness or muscle weakness. Spinal decompression treatments relieve pressure on the nerves.

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion

This approach is performed on patients diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease or who suffer from recurring disc herniations. This procedure may be effective for those who suffer from low back pain due to spinal trauma.

Foraminotomy

The spinal column has openings through which the nerves exit, called a foramen. When these openings become too small, the nerves become compressed, leading to pain, numbness, weakness, or tingling. A foraminotomy is a surgical procedure in which these openings are surgically widened, and blockages removed, to relieve the pressure on the nerves.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Los Angeles

Techniques in minimally invasive spine surgery

Several techniques can be employed to minimize trauma during MIS surgery. Some of these techniques include:

Tubular retractor

The soft tissues and muscles are kept out of the way with tubes, allowing our surgeon to gain access to the area to be treated without more extensive exposure to the area. An endoscope, a tiny camera on the end of a tube assist in the performance of a precision surgery. The tubular retractor is then removed, and the tissue naturally returns to its place. The incisions in this approach are typically very small.

Thoracscopic access route:

When the front of the spine in the chest requires surgical access, the area is surrounded by the heart and lungs. In older, traditional surgical approaches, the chest would be opened with large incisions and often required the removal of one or more of the patient’s ribs. In thoracscopic access, several small incisions are created through which endoscopic cameras can be inserted so the surgeon can access the area with precision.

Percutaneous placement of screws and rods:

“Percutaneous” means “through the skin.” Some spinal conditions require placing rods or screws to help stabilize the spine or to immobilize an area to allow for spinal fusion to occur. In this more modern approach, guided by X-ray imaging, guidewires are placed through small incisions along the path into which the screws or rods will be placed. This approach is guided by X-ray imaging, in which guidewires are placed through the skin and into the vertebrae and then screws placed over the wires or rods to guide them to the precise location to correct the spinal condition. Robotic surgery is being introduced to spinal fusion at this time, and the surgeons at Achieve Brain & Spine can advise you if you are a candidate for this approach.

Direct lateral access routes:

In minimally invasive spine surgery in Los Angeles, the approach may be to access the spine through the side of the patient’s body, where there is less muscle tissue. A tubular retractor is then used to move muscle tissue out of the way to make it possible to access the discs or vertebrae.

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