The Pros and Cons of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Minimally invasive spine surgery, or MISS, is a type of surgery that is performed on the bones of your spine. It uses smaller incisions than regular surgery. As a result, it may cause lesser harm to the muscles and tissues near the surgical area. In addition, minimally invasive spine surgery causes lesser pain and faster recovery. You can check here to learn more about minimally invasive spine surgery by Dr. Juris Shibayama. He is a spine surgeon focusing on MISS and cervical spinal disorders.

When Will You Need Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

You may need minimally invasive spine surgery if you have a back problem that has not healed with other treatments like physical therapy and medication. However, this surgery will not be able to treat all back-related problems. Below is a list of conditions that minimally invasive spine surgery can treat:

  • Narrowing of the spinal canal or spinal stenosis
  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal deformities
  • Spondylolysis
  • Spinal instability
  • Fractured vertebra
  • Spinal tumor
  • Spine infection
  • Degenerative disc disease

Benefits of Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery

Minimally invasive spine surgery has many benefits over regular spinal surgery. Common benefits include:

  • Very little scarring
  • Reduced risk of infection
  • Very little soft tissue damage
  • Faster recovery
  • Reduced pain during and after the procedure
  • Can be performed at an outpatient surgery center
  • Requires lesser anesthesia
  • Reduced blood loss during the procedure

Cons of Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery

Though MISS has its benefits, it also has a few risks and disadvantages, like any other medical procedure. Below are some of the disadvantages of MISS:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Incision problems
  • Blood clots
  • Infections
  • Discomfort and pain
  • Need for additional procedures
  • Stroke
  • Paralysis

You must always speak to your doctor and clarify any doubts or questions you have before proceeding with minimally invasive spinal surgery.

What Happens During a Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

An orthopedic surgeon performs minimally invasive spinal surgery. The surgical procedure may vary depending on the part of the spine being operated on. Below are some of the common techniques used:


A discectomy is performed to trim or remove a herniated disc in the spine. Spinal discs are elastic rings with soft material that act like a cushion between the vertebral bones. The soft tissue in these rings herniates if the rings become weak. As a result, the herniated disc can compress nearby nerves, causing pain. A discectomy is a minimally invasive surgery performed using tubular dilators, an endoscope, and a microscope.

Spinal Decompression

Spinal decompression is performed to treat spinal stenosis. The vertebral canal gets narrow in this condition and results in nerve compression. Spinal stenosis may have various symptoms, like numbness, pain, and muscle weakness. The bone and soft tissues causing the compression during spinal decompression are removed. The most common procedures include foraminotomy and laminectomy.

How To Prepare for Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery?

Your healthcare provider can help you prepare for the spinal surgery. They will ask you about all the medicines you take to rule out any severe reactions. They may ask you to stop taking certain medications, like blood thinners, a few days before the surgery. You will be asked to stop smoking before the surgery if you are a smoker. In addition to this, you will require imaging tests like X-rays or MRIs. You must ensure you don’t eat or drink anything after midnight, the night before your surgery, and inform your healthcare provider of any changes in your health.

What Happens After The Surgery?

Certain minimally invasive spine procedures can be performed as outpatient procedures. This means you can go home the same day after the surgery. However, you will have to stay at the hospital for two hours after the surgery so your doctor can monitor you for any side effects. Sometimes, you may be asked to stay one or two nights. In addition, you will experience some pain after the surgery. Your doctor may prescribe medicines to control the pain.

You should avoid lifting anything or bending and wear a back brace for some time. You will also need physical therapy to aid recovery. While the recovery time may depend on the type of surgery you had, you may be able to resume normal activities in a few weeks.

Though MISS has many benefits, it is a major surgery and should not be taken lightly. You must follow your doctor’s instructions about post-operative care and follow-up appointments. Listening to your doctor and taking proper care will help your back heal faster.

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