Getting A Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery In Los Angeles

Mar 29, 2022

If you are like most people, just the thought of surgery can make chills run down your spine. This is completely natural as no one likes going through a major surgery because of large incisions, long recovery times, and the risks involved. However, with advances in orthopedic surgery over time, new alternatives to traditional procedures are giving patients less cause for anxiety. Compared to traditional spine surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery (also abbreviated as MISS) uses a much smaller incision to access the surgery site. It may incorporate robotics and other technology to improve precision. All this adds up to a safer procedure and a faster recovery. If you have a back condition that requires surgery, you might be able to have MISS instead of traditional open spine surgery.

Have you recently been introduced to minimally invasive spine surgery? Don't worry. Here is all you need to know!

Difference Between Open and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

In traditional open surgery, to access vertebrae, nerves, and discs that are housed deep within a spine, neurosurgeons have to cut through, move a lot of muscle & other tissue, and use a dissector to pull them out of the way during the procedure. Whereas experienced neurosurgeons such as Dr. Mokhsha Ranasinghe rather opt for a far less invasive technique that allows them to get the job done with a very small incision.. Instead of muscle dissectors, they use a narrow tubular retractor that slips through the space to give them access without damaging too much of the surrounding tissue. With these latest techniques, doctors are able to perform more precise surgery with computer-guided imagery and even robotic devices.

You may also want to read: Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery: All You Need to Know!

Benefits Of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

  1. Less traumatic
    Typically surgery is a traumatic experience for the body because it not only has to recover from the condition being treated but also the muscle and tissue damage caused by the procedure. However, since minimally invasive surgery involves little to no damage to the muscles, it is easier for the body to focus on healing other things such as the disc, nerves, and vertebrae. 
  2. Less painful
    Due to smaller incisions and less damage to the muscles, patients experience far less pain after the surgery and need less pain medication, also reducing the chances of becoming dependent on it.
  3. Faster recovery time
    Unlike patients who bear the pain and take months to recover after open surgery, patients with minimally invasive spine surgery only need a short period to get back into regular activities.
  4. Fewer complications
    No surgical procedure is risk-free, but minimally invasive spine surgery significantly cuts the list of potential complications down to only two: possible infection at the incision site and possible reaction to anesthesia.
  5. Minimal scarring 
    Unlike typical surgeries, this procedure does not include big incisions, so there is only minimal scarring after the surgery. Also, it is comparatively easier for the patients to achieve better cosmetic results than with open surgery.

Procedures That Are Performed Using Minimally Invasive Techniques

Over the years, due to advancement in technology, minimally invasive surgery can be used to treat several spine conditions. Some of the most common surgeries include:

  1. Microdiscectomy: Treats patients with pinched nerves in the spinal columns that cause pain in the back and legs. This is done by removing a small portion of the bone over the nerve root to relieve root compression.
  2. Laminectomy: This surgery relieves pressure on the nerve roots in the spine caused by spinal stenosis. A section of bone is removed from the vertebrae to relieve pressure.
  3. Minimally Invasive Lumbar Fusion: Performed to treat different conditions including:
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolisthesis

What to expect after the surgery?

Although every patient is different, yet most patients after a minimally invasive spine surgery find their recovery times to be shorter as compared to those who undergo open procedures. They are able to continue with their normal routines, with improved mobility and less pain in just a matter of weeks.

Recovery Following Surgery

Due to small incisions required in minimally invasive back surgery,  recovery time after the procedure is much shorter, and most patients go home on the same day or in 1 to 2 days. After going home, patients need to rest but can resume their normal diet. It is normal for some patients to have mild pain and soreness for a few days, which can be dealt with only over-the-counter pain relievers. Although the surgical wound requires some care, fluid leaking from the incision in small amounts is normal and ignorable.

Getting Back to Routine

Depending on the condition and the procedure, returning back to a normal routine can take up to 6 weeks. Compared to an open procedure, this recovery time is significantly shorter.

Physical Therapy

The doctor will likely prescribe physical therapy to strengthen the muscles, improve mobility around the spine and accelerate the recovery period.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery In Los Angeles

If you have a spinal disorder, and non-surgical methods have not been working for you, you might want to consider a minimally invasive surgery. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe at Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery for a comprehensive evaluation. Dr. Ranasinghe is a board-certified neurosurgeon specializing in minimally invasive spine surgery. She has expertise in advanced minimally invasive procedures, including laminectomy, microdiscectomy, and lumbar fusion. You can reach us at (213) 369-4583 or use our website for an online appointment request form.