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Minimally Invasive Surgery
georgia888 posted:
Hello fellow sufferers,
This past week I attended a seminar advertised in our local paper on the subject of minimally invasive spinal surgery. Although I'm not yet a candidate for such surgery, I thought I would attend the seminar just the same as I like to become as educated as possible on the subject of treatments available.

The doctor giving the seminar was young & shared quite a bit of interesting information on the subject. It's still a new field & the doctor stated that it's tough attracting other doctors to this technology as the learning curve is a long one.

The doctor said that at present, only 15% of spinal surgeries are done using this technique. He was quite convincing with many success stories of various surgeries performed on a variety of ages with many successful results. In most cases, the procedure was performed on an out-patient basis with the patient going home the same or following day.

From a cosmetic prospective, the incisions were slight.

On the whole, it was very encouraging, If & when the time comes that I may need surgery on my degenerative spine, I believe I will choose this method.

Can any others share in on this subject?

georgia888 responded:
Just me correcting my last post......

that would be "from a cosmetic perspective...."

I should have proofread before hitting the submit button.

bj1208 responded:
Hi Georgia -

It's hard to give any insight to this without knowing exactly what the name of the procedure is - you can google: minimally invasive spinal surgery, and come up with lots of hits from different places etc.,

as far as some of the different procedures noted what I have found is:

1) If damage to a disc is minimal they will go in and shave off the area

2) If damage is slightly more or worse some of the "hardware" is very small, almost like spacers to put in around the disc and sometimes the "hardware" may be slightly bigger, but smaller than the "usual big hardware normally done with FUSION surgeries

3) Some hardware is put in at the facet joint(s) to help reduce pains

and yes, with most of the "minimally invasive spinal surgeries" the incisions are slight usually done with some small "holes"(enough for small tubes and/or to see where they are going) and a small incision so that the "hardware" can be inserted.

I can tell you that with my incision, Anterior Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 that mine starts at my belly button and goes down about 6 inches. As soon as my staples were removed the PA told me to rub the incision site especially any hard areas as this would help reduce the size of the scar. I also purchased some expensive cream that is supposed to help reduce the size of the scar. I rubbed and rubbed and even tough my surgery was in 2/08 my incision is a very faint pencil line. Remember too, the approach they did on me was from my stomach. I don't know but it seems the front may make a difference as it's harder to reach the backside to rub.

Anyway, hope this helps a little - take care Georgia~~
Take care~~

~~ Joy ~~
georgia888 replied to bj1208's response:
Hi Joy,
As always, thank you for replying.

According to the surgeon who conducted the lecture, just about any back surgery can be done using the "minimally invasive" technique. It sounds very similar to the laparoscopic surgeries in that an x-raying machine is used in conjunction with the procedure.

The difference from the old-style (name escapes me) surgery versus the minimally invasive surgery is the learning curve involved with the new technology. The old school surgeons & those teaching the young residents really don't want to have to learn a whole new method of doing things.

With medical technology continuously advancing, we can only hope that some day spine problems won't be so problematic & perhaps might then be more easily addressed as musculoskeletal issues are in other areas of the body.

Take care,
backbreaking replied to georgia888's response:
Hello Georgia, I went to a minimally invasive facility two years ago. They give you an injection where your pain is and if that gives you relief then they go in and do the minimally invasive technique. My problems were more than they could fix and it's usually 2 levels at the most they will work on.


georgia888 replied to backbreaking's response:
Hi Brenda,
Thank you for sharing your experience. The doctor who conducted the lecture I attended led us to believe that just about any procedure could be performed using this technique.

Was your doctor able to accomplish anything using this technique or did he just stop when it was realized that your issue was more than could be handled at the time? Did you then go along with a more conventional form of surgery to correct your issues?

backbreaking replied to georgia888's response:
Hi Georgia, They gave me a shot in the place on my spine where I was complaining of the pain and it helped some but I was still having pain above or below where they did the injection. I have rod implants that was done 22 yrs ago and have developed some stenosis and DDD below the rods. I guess because of the rods they didn't want to do anything. It was my understanding they could only do things like go in through a small incision and laser off some of the bone that was pressing on a nerve. I saw a Orthopedic Dr. today and he said he could go in and tie onto the rods that are there now and go down with more rods and screws to the pelvic area and do some decompression where the stenosis has some nerves impinged.He said it would relieve some of my pain but he couldn't guarantee it would completely get rid of it. It's a tough decision to make.Right now I can't stand over 10 mins. nor walk any distance. The Sciatica is really painful. I have a lot to think about before I call him back. Wish you well.

Claire1999 replied to backbreaking's response:
Hi Brenda,
I am so sorry to hear about your pain. I work with over 30 US Spine Surgeons who are pioneers in MIS Surgery. We can offer you a free MRI review , where our surgeons will review your case and revert back to you with the most appropriate treatment plan. I hope we can help you!

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