Pain Relief With Focused Treatment
Minimally invasive spine surgery was developed to treat spine problems with less injury to the muscles and other normal structures in the spine. It also helps the surgeon to see only where the problem exists in the spine. Other advantages to MISS include smaller incisions, less bleeding, and shorter stays in the hospital.
MISS fusions and decompression procedures (such as diskectomy and laminectomy) are performed with special tools called tubular retractors. During the procedure, a small incision is made and the tubular retractor is inserted through the skin and soft tissues down to the spinal column. This creates a tunnel to the small area where the problem exists in the spine. The tubular retractor holds the muscles open and is kept in place throughout the procedure.
The surgeon accesses the spine using small instruments that fit through the center of the tubular retractor. Any bone or disk material that is removed exits through the retractor, and any devices necessary for fusion such as screws or rods are inserted through the retractor. Some surgeries require more than one retractor.
In order to see where to place the incision and insert the retractor, the surgeon is guided by fluoroscopy. This method displays real-time x-ray images of the patient's spine on a screen throughout the surgery. The surgeon also uses an operating microscope to magnify the view through the retractor.