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Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Reduces Recovery Time

Male patient with back pain for minimally Invasive surgery.

If you are experiencing a spine problem and consulted with your primary care provider, you likely have already tried physical therapy, medication or injections to address your condition. If those treatments didn’t help, your doctor may refer you to a spine surgeon for evaluation. For some people, the evaluation could show that minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) is an option.

The Benefits of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Whether minimally invasive or traditional open spine surgery, the goals are the same: reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life. With MISS, surgeons use specialized instruments to accomplish these goals through smaller incisions and minimize the operative footprint on your body. This decreases the amount of blood loss, muscle dissection, and bone that needs to be removed—all lessening the trauma to your body. While the outcomes following MISS are similar to traditional approaches, MISS can offer the following additional benefits:

  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Less pain after surgery
  • Less need for narcotics after surgery 
  • More discharges to home (rather than to a rehab facility)
  • Faster recovery
  • Quicker return to work

Who Is A Candidate for MISS?

Not every patient or condition is appropriate for minimally invasive surgery. It is important to talk with your spine surgeon to identify the best treatment option for you.  

Surgeries that can be performed in a minimally invasive fashion include:
  • Removal of herniated discs
  • Laminectomies for spinal stenosis
  • Spinal fusion procedures
MISS can therefore treat many spine problems such as: 
  • Herniated discs—a problem with the intervertebral discs that sit between the vertebrae (bones) in the spine
  • Spinal stenosis—a narrowing of the space where the spinal cord and/or nerves sit
  • Radiculopathy—a painful condition caused by a compression and irritation of a nerve in the spine
  • Spondylolisthesis—a condition caused by one vertebral body slipping forward on another vertebral body
  • Scoliosis—an abnormal curvature of the spine

Some smaller surgeries, such as discectomy or laminectomy, can be performed as “same day” procedures, allowing patients to return home the same day as the surgery. Larger surgeries, such as lumbar fusions, require a short hospital stay—typically one to two nights.

Risks of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

The risks of MISS are generally the same as those of open surgery; however, some risks are decreased with minimally invasive approaches. For example, because MISS is performed through smaller incisions and smaller exposures, the risk of infection is lower than open surgery.

To learn more about treatment options for your spinal condition, you can request an appointment with our spine program by completing this form.

author name

R. Nick Hernandez, MD

R. Nick Hernandez, MD, is a neurosurgeon with LG Health Physicians NeuroScience and Spine Associates. A graduate of Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Dr. Hernandez completed his residency at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and a fellowship at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Hernandez specializes in both cranial and spinal surgeries, with a focus on minimally invasive techniques. He believes in a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary, individualized approach to patient care. His goal is to identify the best treatment option for each patient, whether that includes a minimally invasive or open surgical option, or non-surgical options such as physical therapy, pain management, physiatry, sports medicine, and/or other alternative treatments.

Call: 717-569-5331

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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