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You are offered a minimally-invasive spinal surgery? Continue reading before scheduling your surgery

We will start this article with quoting world renowned spinal surgeon, pioneer of minimally-invasive surgery who shared his techniques and educated hundreds of surgeons worldwide, dr. Martin Knight from The Spinal Foundation (United Kingdom).

“Don’t be confused by clinics offering Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS) which by definition has an incision of less than 7.5mm, when they really mean Less Invasive Spinal Surgery (LISS) which uses an incision(s) which amount to 20 – 80mm.”

Minimally-invasive spinal surgery

What dr. Martin Knight is trying to say? True minimally-invasive spinal surgical techniques are exactly – endoscopic (which by definition has an incision of less than 7.5mm). With minimally-invasive endoscopic surgical techniques, surgeons are able to treat variety of spinal diseases like:

  • herniated disc
  • protruded disc
  • extruded disc
  • bulging disc
  • pinched nerve
  • back pain
  • FBSS – failed back surgery syndrome (some occurrences of FBSS)
  • annular tear
  • sciatica

Laser Spine Surgery - Minimally-invasive spine surgery

Less-invasive spinal surgery

Less-invasive procedures are something else. In our opinion, less invasive procedures are good, superior to traditional procedures, safer than traditional procedures… especially in cases of spinal stenosis. Less-invasive procedures are mostly performed through tubes and systems like METRx from Medtronic. Less-invasive spinal surgeries (which by definition have an incision from 15-80mm, but mostly less than 25mm) are for example this surgical procedures:

  • tubular retractor assisted surgeries, known as METRx procedures, or micro-endoscopic procedures (acceptable solution if surgeon is following principles of minimally-invasive spinal surgery)
  • cervical surgical procedures like posterior foraminotomy
  • interspinous implant surgery

METRx less invasive spinal surgery

Traditional spinal surgery

Some procedures will, unfortunately, never become minimally-invasive. Mostly because what they do in the target area, below your skin, in your spine or spinal intervertebral disc. If surgery includes removal of the whole disc, using screws or rods or artificial disc, it shouldn’t be called “minimally-invasive”. Some of this procedures are:

  • spinal fusion surgery (even percutaneous fusion)
  • spinal fixation surgery (even percutaneous fixation)
  • artificial disc replacement surgery
  • micro-discectomy surgery, micro-spine surgery

Traditional Spinal Surgery - Spinal Fusion