Other Minimally Invasive Spinal Procedures
Microdiscectomy is used to treat pain and discomfort from herniated discs in the lumbar (lower back) region of the spine, and thus is also referred to as microlumbar discectomy (MLD). Microdiscectomy relieves the pressure on the portion of the spinal nerve that is being affected by the bulging disc. Compared to other minimally invasive spinal surgeries, this is a relatively simple procedure that uses one small incision located right over the affected disc, and requires little or no disruption of the tissue surrounding the spine. The surgeon removes a portion of the disc and a small amount of bone from the vertebra to create room for the spinal nerve, helping to relieve symptoms. Microdiscectomy takes about an hour to perform, and more than 90 percent of patients have a good to excellent outcome, quickly returning to their daily routine.
Microendoscopic laminectomy, or microlaminectomy, is used to treat patients with lumbar stenosis, a condition of the lower back in which the spinal nerves are pinched or compressed by an overgrowth of bone, causing pain and limiting movement. In this procedure, bone is removed from the part of the vertebra called the lamina, and occasionally from the foramen, which is the main opening through which the spinal nerve exits from the spinal cord. Microendoscopic laminectomy uses one small incision located over the affected vertebra, and like microdiscectomy, requires little cutting of muscle or soft tissue. The procedure usually takes about 60 to 90 minutes, and most patients report good to excellent results in the form of quickly reduced pain and a fast recovery.
Minimally Invasive Cervical Foraminotomy
Minimally invasive cervical foraminotomy is used to treat vertebra in the neck, a region called the cervical spine. In this surgery, bone is removed from the foramen, the main opening through which the spinal nerve passes on its way out of the spinal cord. This opening can be obstructed by a herniated disc, an excess growth of bone (bone spurs) on the vertebra, or swollen ligaments or joints. This procedure uses a single incision on the affected side of the neck, through which the surgeon removes enlarged tissue, bone or portions of the herniated disc. It takes about 2 hours to complete.
Vertebroplasty is used to treat compression fractures of the vertebra, which are commonly caused by osteoporosis, but can also result from other disease processes or certain drug regimens. The procedure can be done under local anesthetic as an outpatient or under general anesthesia as an inpatient. Vertebroplasty uses a small incision, through which bone cement is injected into the affected portion of the vertebra. The cement hardens in minutes and stabilizes the weakened bone structure, relieving pain caused by the fracture. The procedure generally takes 1 to 2 hours, and can be used to treat multiple vertebrae at one time.
Kyphoplasty is a more complex procedure than vertebroplasty, using two incisions and tools called bone tamps. The bone tamps are balloons that help to create a larger space on each side of the vertebra into which the bone cement is injected. Kyphoplasty can actually add height to the spine, and has a very low complication rate (less than 2 percent).