Everything You Didn't Know About Minimally Invasive Surgery

Everything You Didn't Know About Minimally Invasive Surgery

It makes sense that an orthopedic surgeon who tripled-majored in electrical engineering, computer engineering, and chemistry would master the latest surgical technology to deliver the best care to his patients.

And that’s exactly what Dr. Patrick McNulty, our double-board certified spine specialist at McNulty Spine in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada, has done. As an award-winning physician of national renown, Dr. McNulty draws on more than three decades of experience to offer unmatched expertise and precise care. 

Whenever possible, this includes using minimally invasive surgical techniques. Here are a few surprising facts you may not know about minimally invasive surgery.

1. Minimally invasive surgery is relatively new

Traditional open surgery has been around for centuries, but minimally invasive surgical techniques didn’t come into the limelight until the 1970s when a small camera at the end of a long narrow instrument enabled surgeons to make diagnoses without making long incisions. 

While the concept began earlier in the 20th century, laparoscopic surgery didn’t take hold until 1981 when the first laparoscopic appendectomy was performed. Today, many surgical procedures can be performed using this technique, including spinal procedures such as instrumentation, decompression, lateral interbody fusion, and posterior or posterolateral fusion.

2. Minimally invasive surgery is underused

Because minimally invasive surgical techniques are less traumatic to healthy tissues, yet are as accurate and effective as traditional open surgery, they are considered superior. However, surgical techniques are the prerogative of the surgeon, and studies show that there is a disparity in the number of procedures that qualify for a minimally invasive technique and those that actually receive one. 

While open surgery is often warranted in complex cases, it isn’t always necessary. Dr. McNulty is highly skilled in both types of surgery and believes that minimally invasive surgery should be employed whenever the case and potential outcome warrant it. 

3. Minimally invasive surgery is shorter

Much of open surgery involves exploration of the problem, which takes time. Minimally invasive techniques can pinpoint the area of injury before surgery begins, which means Dr. McNulty spends less time repairing the problem, and you spend less time in surgery.

This may also translate to a less expensive procedure depending on the details of your insurance plan and hospital policies.

4. You recover faster from minimally invasive surgery 

When Dr. McNulty uses minimally invasive techniques, he only needs to make tiny incisions large enough for a slender tube to fit through. This means he disrupts very few healthy tissues, so your skin and muscles don’t suffer the same level of trauma as they would with open surgery, and you experience much less pain.

Your small incisions heal much quicker, and you’re back on your feet again sooner. 

5. Minimally invasive surgery can use robots

During some minimally invasive surgical procedures, Dr. McNulty uses robotic assistance. This high-tech approach involves a chair-side console that displays a high-definition 3D image on a screen. Dr. McNulty can see exactly what’s happening inside your spine, and he can use the robotic control to make incredibly precise movements that aren’t possible manually.

6. Minimally invasive surgery may deliver better results

The goal of any surgical procedure is to repair damage so you can return to a healthy and active life. But rehabilitation after open surgery is often long and arduous.

Minimally invasive surgery dramatically shortens your recovery time, which in turn, speeds up your rehabilitation. Most of our patients reach their post-op functionality goals much quicker and fuller than they expected. 

Whether you need traditional open surgery or can benefit from minimally invasive surgery, Dr. McNulty has the skill and expertise to perform them both. To find out which is best for your condition, request an appointment online or call one of our two locations in Henderson or Las Vegas, Nevada, today. 

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