Minimally invasive surgery is a catch-all term for any type of surgery which reduces the impact on the body that would normally occur in an open procedure. The specific types of instruments used during these
surgeries will often be associated with the name of the operation, such as endoscopic surgery using an endoscope, and laparoscopy using a laparoscope. They may also be known colloquially as ‘keyhole’ surgery due to the small incision that is used to gain access to the body’s tissues.
Some spinal surgery can be carried out using minimally invasive techniques, such as laminotomy and foraminotomy, but others such as multiple level laminectomy, or spinal fusion will usually need either multiple surgeries or an open procedure as more access is required to a larger area of the spine. Fluoroscopes (live X-Ray) may also be used during both microsurgery and open surgery on the spine to assist the surgeon when assessing levels of decompression achieved or the precise location of osteophytes, fracture, or other pertinent bony structure.
Implants such as the X Stop may be used in back surgery to stabilize the spine and maintain intervertebral height. Other techniques such as transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion involves the removal of disc material and the placement of a bone graft to keep the spine decompressed and stable. Innovations in surgical techniques allow for swifter recovery times and reduced risk of complication and many procedures which previously necessitated an open invasive procedure can now be carried out using much smaller incisions and specialized instruments to reduce tissue trauma.
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