Surgery of any kind is never the first course of treatment, and always comes with at least some risks. Plus, the bigger the incision and the longer it’s open, the higher your risks become. So it stands to reason that if you’re facing spinal surgery, you want to keep the incision as small and the procedure as short as possible.
Dr. Patrick C. McNulty, our double board-certified, award-winning orthopedic surgeon, specializes in complex spinal procedures and is a master of minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS). He is also well versed in robotic minimally invasive spine surgery. Here, he explains the multiple advantages of this less-is-more approach to spinal care.
A word about spinal surgery
Generally speaking, there are two categories of spinal surgeries: decompression and fusion.
Decompression is a procedure that relieves pressure from nerves that are impinged by conditions such as herniated discs, arthritis, or bone spurs. Spinal fusion is a technique to stabilize your spine using instrumentation such as pins, screws, grafts, and plates.
Regardless of what type of spine surgery you’re facing, there’s a good chance Dr. McNulty can perform it with MISS. While this approach isn’t right for every patient or every procedure, when it’s a good fit, it’s a great alternative to open surgery.
Advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery
MISS involves a relatively small incision: about one inch wide. Instead of making a large incision and cutting through muscle and other soft tissue, Dr. McNulty slips a narrow tube into the hole to retract your skin, then he gently pushes the muscles out of the way without damaging them.
He uses fluoroscopy to visualize the surgical area, guide his instruments, and make precise adjustments to correct your spinal condition. If you’re a good candidate for minimally invasive surgery, you can expect a lot less than you’d get from open surgery — including less:
- Time spent in the hospital (some procedures are outpatient)
- Time recovering
- Post-op pain
- Damage to muscles and soft tissues
- Blood loss
- Chance of infection
The main idea behind MISS is to reduce trauma so you can return to full function sooner and with minimal pain.
Conditions we treat with minimally invasive spine surgery
Some conditions require open surgery, but when MISS is an option, here are some of the conditions Dr. McNulty can treat:
- Herniated disc
- Compression fractures
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal infections
Of course, surgery is never the first course of action, and Dr. McNulty explores every possible treatment option to restore your spinal health with nonsurgical measures. As one of the country’s preeminent orthopedic surgeons with more than 30 years of experience, Dr. McNulty provides world-class care you can trust.
If you’re facing spinal surgery and want to find out if you’re a good candidate for MISS, call us today or request an appointment online.