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Open Surgery Versus Endoscopic Spine Surgery: Which is Better?

How do they compare?

Today, many different types of spine surgery can be performed utilizing minimally invasive techniques, with smaller incisions, fewer risks of complication, decreased recovery time, and minimal scarring.

Big Incision vs. Small Incision

In open back spine surgery, a five- to six-inch incision may be needed in order to see the affected nerve root and the disc. In creating such a sizeable incision, a large area of muscle also has to be cut to make an opening of three to five centimeters, leading to substantial blood loss.

Minimally invasive spine surgery, done through an incision that measures less than 1 inch, can achieve the same results without the muscular trauma that occurs in open-spine surgery. Devices are now available that use microscopic fiber optics that transmit anatomical images to a monitor. This equipment is made with built-in magnification that enables the surgeon to view tiny structures through a very small incision. Laser technology can also be used to separate or eliminate tissue formations in some types of minimally invasive procedures.

Greater vs. Fewer Risk Complications from General Anesthesia

Open back surgery also requires the use of general anesthesia, which depending on your age and overall health, there could be a greater risk of complications.

However, laser/endoscopic procedures cause fewer mental and physical traumas and is performed under local anesthesia with deep IV sedation, which reduces the risk of heart or lung disease in patients.

Longer vs. Shorter Recovery Time

An average procedure time is 45-60 minutes. In addition to the invasiveness of the surgery, the other factors to be considered are the length of the stay in the hospital, the painful weeks/months of recuperation time, the use of pain medications necessary afterwards, and the time you will have to spend away from your work environment.

The advantages of endoscopic spine surgery, which attracts patients towards this procedure, is easy and early recovery and less time of hospitalization. An average procedure time is 45-60 minutes. Once the surgery is complete, the patient is monitored for a couple of hours and released the very same day. Endoscopic surgery patients become active and get involved in daily activities and daily routine much earlier than patients who undergo open back surgery.

Major vs. Minimal Scarring

Another important factor to consider is the likelihood of scar tissue formation. In many cases, the amount of scar tissue formation leads to additional spine conditions, which could eventually lead the patient to need another surgical procedure. Unfortunately, there is less than a 50% success rate of full recovery of symptoms.

Why is an endoscopic procedure a better option?

It leaves minimal scarring on the body since there is only one wound which is at the site of the insertion of the endoscope. In 90% of the cases, patients report quality of life improvement after endoscopic spine surgery.

Article copyright: Spineuniverse

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