Endoscopic Spine Surgery Technology

Endoscopic spine surgery is an ultra-minimally invasive technique used to address a variety of spinal conditions. It is well suited for removing pressure from spinal nerves caused by disc herniations or bone spurs. Traditional surgical techniques involve larger incisions and more muscle damage with associated scar tissue – this translates to longer hospital stays and recovery times. On the contrary, endoscopic spine surgery is performed via a sub-centimeter incision through which a narrow camera is inserted. This is minimizes disruption of the muscle and other important stabilizing structures, allowing the surgeon to perform the operation safely while viewing the spine on a high-definition monitor. Patients often experience immediate relief of their sciatica-type symptoms and are comfortably home within hours of surgery.

Endoscopic spine surgery is best used for removing pressure from nerves.

Such nerve compression typically causes pain, numbness, tingling and/or weakness in the arms or legs. Patients who are candidates for traditional decompression surgeries (e.g., microdiscectomy, laminectomy, and foraminotomy) are very often candidates for an endoscopic spine surgery, which accomplishes the same surgical goals but via less invasive means. Isolated back or neck pain is less likely a result of spinal nerve compression so patients without symptoms radiating to the arms or legs are typically not candidates for endoscopic spine surgery. However, there may be other minimally invasive means for addressing such issues. It is therefore important for the surgeon to adapt the surgical plan to the individual patient’s symptoms.

The most common uses of Endoscopic Spine Surgery are typically in the lumbar spine (low back) and cervical spine (Neck).

There are applications for endoscopic spine surgery throughout the spine including cervical, thoracic, and lumbar. The most common uses of Endoscopic Spine Surgery are typically in the lumbar spine. Most people experience more motion in the low back with more pressure pushing downward. Patients tend to get disc herniations, disc bulges, and bone spurs in the low back due to the added pressure on the spine. The second most common area of use for endoscopic spine surgery is in the cervical spine. The neck or cervical spine is not uncommon for decompressions and posterior cervical foraminotomy procedures. There are instances in which endoscopic spine surgery can be used in thoracic surgery, but is far less common, but in rare cases it can be a great way to avoid other types of surgery on the thoracic spine which usually involves larger incisions, including some fusion-based surgeries.

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When a patient has exhausted all conservative care treatment options and is still experiencing pain, a patient should consider surgical intervention.

When a patient’s symptoms begin to impact their quality of life routinely and they begin to weigh the options if the activity is worth the pain they expect to experience afterword, a patient should then consider asking if they are a candidate for this procedure.  Getting checked out and going to the spine specialist doesn’t mean they will necessarily have spine surgery when consulting with a conservative spine surgeon. It is important to work through the steps of conservative care, but if the patient has exhausted all conservative care treatment options, and are still experiencing limited activity and pain, a patient should consider surgical intervention using the most conservative and smallest surgical treatment available.

About 45 minutes per level.

Duration of endoscopic spine surgery depends on the condition being addressed, but typically endoscopic spine surgery usually takes about 45 minutes per level. Most people experience symptoms at one level, but if there are multiple levels we generally advise to expect about 45 minutes per level.

Patients are typically released from the hospital with in an hour or two after the procedure.

A benefit of endoscopic spine surgery is the quick recovery time patients experience. Endoscopic spine surgery addresses the underlying problem without creating much of the collateral damage of traditional spine surgery. Many patients who have an endoscopic discectomy or decompression are typically in the recovery room, walking around, and oftentimes they have immediate and substantial improvement in their sciatica. Patients are typically released from the hospital with in an hour or two after the procedure. Patients are typically encouraged to resume the same low impact activities they were able to do before surgery. There is no back brace required, minimal if any medication needed, and minimal restrictions following the surgery.

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