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Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

For years, traditional spine surgery involved making a large incision the length of the back to spread or “retract” the back muscles and access the spine. This open surgery technique provides easy access to the spinal anatomy, but retraction can damage spinal muscles and lead to significant post-operative pain. Open spine surgeries also result in significant blood loss, a large scar, and relatively lengthy recovery.

Open surgeries are still preferred in some cases, but many conditions can now be treated using advanced, minimally invasive techniques. Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) allows your PBSSM neurosurgeon to make smaller incisions and avoid invasive muscle retraction.

Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery

What are the Benefits of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Minimally invasive spine surgery usually results in the same surgical outcome as more traditional techniques, but without the need for large incisions and muscle disturbance. 

Advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery in NJ & PA include:

  • Reduced operative time
  • Less soft-tissue damage
  • Less painful surgical incisions
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Faster recovery with less post-operative pain
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Cosmetically preferred due to smaller scars

During MISS, your PBSSM neurosurgeon will insert a thin, telescope-like endoscope through a small incision in the back. The endoscope is connected to a tiny light and video camera that sends images from inside the body to a screen in the operating room. Tiny tubes are placed inside additional incisions, and special surgical instruments are inserted through these tubes to perform your precision spine procedure.

Minimally Invasive Spine Techniques

At Princeton Brain, Spine and Sports Medicine, our priority is providing exemplary patient care. For this reason, we offer a variety of scientifically proven, minimally invasive spine surgery techniques.

PBSSM’s minimally invasive services currently include:

  • Discectomy: This procedure involves the removal of a damaged intervertebral disc. PBSSM performs minimally invasive discectomies using small incisions to access the spinal anatomy.
  • Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF): The traditional ALIF approach involves significant soft tissue damage and blood loss, so PBSSM uses a mini-open approach for ALIF. This version of the procedure is far less invasive than traditional spine surgery but is also safer than the laparoscopic technique.
  • Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF): PBSSM neurosurgeons utilize a mini-open PLIF technique for such conditions as spondylolisthesis and degenerative disc disease.
  • Pedicle screws: Until recently, the insertion of pedicle screws required surgeons to expose the pedicles (cylinder-shaped bones projecting from the sides of vertebrae). Today, we use MISS techniques that allow us to implant pedicle screws through the skin without disturbing muscles and tendons.
  • Vertebroplasty & kyphoplasty: These breakthrough procedures are used to treat vertebral compression fractures. Your PBSSM neurosurgeon injects orthopedic cement into the affected vertebrae, delivering excellent outcomes.

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