The idea of spine surgery to most people means, simply, that an incision will be made in your back and surgery performed. The thought of a knife cutting through muscles, long scars, and uncomfortable recovery and healing makes any other alternative desirable. Minimally invasive procedures do have less scarring and faster recovery, but there are other reasons why this may be your best option. This article covers many of your questions, but please take time to contact Dr. Scott Hodges for further information to ensure you are aware of what options are available to you.
What is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?
In essence, minimally invasive spine surgery is using the least invasive technique to access the spine combined with special instruments and implants designed to be delivered through that least invasive opening. “Minimal” is interpreted by doctors in a variety of ways ranging from smaller cuts and special retraction to specialized instruments. Always seek your doctor’s definition of minimally invasive.
Dr. Scott Hodges uses the gold standard of minimally invasive access, a series of tubes that dilate, or expand, small incisions. This approach gives patients the following benefits:
- Very small cuts that are closed with few sutures and band-aid closures.
- Muscles are dilated (spread) rather than cut through, so less musculature damage occurs.
- Smaller cuts and more intact muscle means faster healing, and less pain.
In addition to the least minimal invasive process, Dr. Hodges adds a key additional component to his approach: image-guided technology. This game-changing technology puts Dr. Hodges in a very elite group of surgeons. But what’s the benefit to you? Increased patient safety and better chance of outcomes.
Image Guided Navigation Technology – In a nutshell, special instruments, scanning devices, and computer guided visualizations of your spine give Dr. Hodges a view inside your spine, where no one has been able to view before. Learn more about Image Guided Navigation in this article.
Patient Safety and Minimally Invasive Surgery – the risks and benefits of minimally invasive surgery will be explained in-depth to you, but the patient safety factor cannot be ignored. Surgeons using traditional approaches and even minimally invasive approaches use touch and observation as their primary methods for determining if they have adequately prepared your site for spinal fusion. In the event of incorrect placement of spinal grafts or lack of depth, a non-union (failure to fuse) may occur. The use of image guided navigation techniques allows Dr. Hodges to have a far greater degree of accuracy and far better outcomes and unions. Learn more about Patient Safety in this article.