Traditional open surgery is a mainstay in orthopedic medicine, and it’s still the standard treatment for many conditions.
But technological advances have made it possible to correct several spinal conditions without creating a large incision and damaging a lot of internal tissues.
One of the country’s leading experts in both types of surgical procedures, Dr. Patrick McNulty at McNulty Spine in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada, offers minimally invasive surgery whenever it's appropriate. Here are some of the conditions that may warrant this gentler procedure.
A herniated disc occurs when trauma exerts excessive force on your spine or your discs naturally degenerate as you age. Either way, the result is a slipped or bulging intervertebral disc that compresses nearby nerves. Dr. McNulty can relieve that pressure using any of several minimally invasive decompression procedures, such as endoscopic discectomy.
Lumbar spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis occurs when something causes your spine to narrow. The culprit could be a lifetime of wear and tear that triggers the growth of bone spurs, herniated discs, thickened ligaments, tumors, or spinal injury. The treatment goal is to open up the space and decompress the nerves.
In this case, Dr. McNulty may opt for the minimally invasive interspinous stabilization procedure, using the Coflex™ interspinous spacer to create space in your spine and relieve pressure from your nerves.
Degenerative disc disease
Most common in the neck and lower back regions of your spine, degenerative disc disease is a condition that causes pain, inflammation, numbness, and instability of the spine. The following minimally invasive procedures may be used to correct the problem.
- Anterior Lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF): performed from the front of the spine
- Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion: removal of the degenerated disc
- Lateral lumbar interbody fusion: performed through your side instead of your back
When your vertebrae are sloppy and move around more than they should, you have spinal instability, which requires surgical stabilization. Dr. McNulty can implant screws that will keep your spine in place using a minimally invasive procedure called lumbar pedicle screw fixation.
Osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones, is the most common cause of spinal compression fractures. The treatment is kyphoplasty, which Dr. McNulty performs using minimally invasive techniques to repair the fracture and return the affected vertebra to its previous height.
Benefits of minimally invasive procedures
Many types of procedures can be performed using minimally invasive techniques, which may include manual instruments or robot-assisted devices. The procedures are incredibly precise and take advantage of the latest technology, including high-definition 3D imaging and software. You can expect:
- Less pain
- Less scarring
- Less muscle and tissue damage
- Quicker recovery
- Shorter hospital stays (no hospital at all in some cases)
- Less risk of infection
- Less blood loss
If you need spinal surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. McNulty to find out if you might be a candidate for minimally invasive surgery. Book an appointment online or call us today.