In the past, the idea of minimally invasive spine surgery seemed like a medical fantasy. Traditional, open lumbar back surgery required a minimum incision of five to six inches and a lengthy recovery time. Plus, there were nasty side effects — blood loss, risk of infection, muscle damage, prolonged pain, and up to a week or more spent in a hospital bed.
But in 2015, minimally invasive spine surgery techniques have progressed so far that many doctors now refer to it as spinal day surgery. For patients with low back pain or neck pain, MISS provides an outpatient alternative to open surgery. Not only can you avoid a large scar and extended hospital stay, but you can recover relatively quickly in the comfort of your own home.
In one popular form of MISS, doctors make tiny “keyhole” incisions that provide surgical access without open surgery procedures. Of course, your doctor will probably recommend other forms of conservative treatment options for preventing lower back pain before planning any surgery, even minimally invasive ones.
Before MISS, what are my treatment options?
Before surgery, doctors will usually pursue less risky, conservative treatment options. This can include a regime of physical therapy, which can help alleviate symptoms of back pain without the need for aggressive medical treatment options. Other patients might respond to medications, which can include certain types of steroids or even anti-depressants, which have been proven to help certain types of back pain and related symptoms.
Unfortunately, many patients still report significant side effects of lower back pain even after these courses of treatment, which is when some form of spinal surgery become necessary. Remember, if you do choose to pursue minimally invasive spinal surgery, even though it comes with fewer risks than open surgery, there are still possible risks to consider. These can include, but are not limited to, allergic reaction, bleeding, pain or discomfort, infection, spinal fluid leakage, and more.
But if you suffer from degenerative disc disease, spinal instability, herniated disc, scoliosis, compression fractures, or spinal infections, then talk to your doctor about all treatment options available to you before your pain gets worse. Carefully review the pros and cons of any and all treatment options with your physician. If you have any questions or concerns about your doctor’s recommended treatment options, don’t be afraid to ask for more information.