Everywhere you look there are signs throughout the DFW metroplex advertising micro incisions, laser incisions, and no incision spine surgery. The key thing to remember when you see something on a billboard is that it is there to ADVERTISE.
There has been a recent trend in trying to complete all surgical procedures through minimally invasive techniques which has advanced the spine field tremendously in the past 10-15 years. Some of these procedures can be performed as an outpatient service such as a microdiscecomty, hemilamiecotmy, and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.
There have been major improvements on traditional surgery as well that have dropped the hospital stay from weeks to days. The advent of the surgical microscope allows us to perform surgeries through incision that are not much larger than the diameter of a quarter.
I am going to highlight several of these procedures over the next couple weeks that have changed spine surgery for the better over the past 10 -15 years and they include the microdiscectomy, the XLIF(eXtreme lateral interbody fusion), and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion using the operating microscope.
The advent of the operating microscope to remove a herniated disc has revolutionized this procedure that used to be a 3-5 day hospital stay to 45 minute outpatient procedure. Usually an incision is made over the level of the herniated disc which is localized with xray in the operating room. Usually a 1.5-2.0cm incision is made through the skin and the surgeon uses a series ofdilating tubes to move the muscles out of the way until he/she get to the bone of the posterior spine. The microscope is used to view inside the tube and allow the surgeon to perform the bone resection to gain access into the spinal canal and to move the nerves and soft tissues out of the way so the herniated disc can be grasped and pulled out of the spinal canal. Once this is performed the tubes are removed and the incision closes up on itself. One or two stiches are needed to bring the skin together and a sterile dressing is applied. Most patients wake up with almost complete resolution of their back and leg pain (sciatica). Please go to our procedure site on our website at www.tcspinecenter.com to view the procedure.
ACDF with surgical microscope
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