Smaller Incisions, Big Benefits
In the past, the only option for surgery was for the surgeon to make a large incision. In minimally invasive surgery (MIS), the surgeon uses small incisions and small instruments to see inside the body and perform the operation. The result is less blood loss, lowered risk of infection, faster recovery, and a shorter stay in the hospital. Additionally, many patients experience a significant decrease in the need for pain medication. Here’s what to ask the doctor before having minimally invasive spine surgery.
1. What are the benefits of surgery?
Before choosing to have an operation, patients should discuss all options with the surgeon. If the patient doesn’t have surgery, will the condition worsen? Are there other treatment options to try? Spine surgery is a highly effective treatment for reducing neck or back pain. However, surgery is not typically the first line of treatment. Surgeons only recommend having surgery if no other treatment is likely to improve symptoms.
2. How long will recovery take?
Recovery from minimally invasive surgery is typically much shorter than recovery from open procedures. Because the cuts are smaller, patients can heal and get back to regular activity more quickly. Most of the time, patients can start resuming activity about 6 weeks after the spine surgery. Always check with the surgeon about what activities are safe after the procedure.
3. Will I need follow-up treatment?
Patients should understand the necessary follow-up care after spine surgery. Many patients benefit significantly from physical therapy as part of the recovery process. Research has shown that patients who go through physical therapy have better outcomes and significant pain reduction. The treatment helps to improve core stabilization and prevent future injury. Many patients are prescribed at least 6 weeks of physical therapy after surgery.
Understanding spine surgery
There are many types of back surgery to treat different conditions. For example, spinal laminectomy, decompression, and discectomy are common treatment options for back pain. People might need surgery for herniated discs, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, vertebral fractures, or degenerative disc disease.
Find lasting pain relief
Before surgery, patients may also ask about pain management options. For some people, a combination of medication, physical therapy, and less invasive options like steroid injections can significantly reduce pain. When these options don’t work, surgery is the next step. To learn more about minimally invasive spine surgery, speak with a spine surgeon.