Some back surgery procedures involve the use of an endoscope and your surgeon may refer to the operation as an endoscopic spinal surgery.  An endoscope is a thin tube with a camera at the end that is fed through the tubular retractor during minimally invasive spinal surgery to allow the surgeon to visualize the interior of the body.  The surgeon can see the spinal canal and structures as the images from the endoscope’s camera are displayed on a monitor in the operating theater.  Endoscopic back surgery has all the advantages of minimally invasive spinal surgery such as shorter recovery times, less anaesthesia required, reduced scarring and tissue trauma, and a lesser degree of pain after the surgery.  This type of procedure may be available to treat spinal stenosis and pinched nerves, degenerative disc disease and facet disease, to remove bone spurs and disc fragments or herniation, and for arthritic spinal conditions.


Arthroscopic Spine Surgery – Joint work

Arthroscopic spinal surgery makes use of an endoscope to allow a surgeon to visualize the affected area and remove the necessity to perform the same degree of bone or muscle dissection as in open back surgery.  So what is the difference between endoscopic and arthroscopic? An arthroscope is a type of endoscope that allows a surgeon to work on the joint.  Bulging, ruptured, and herniated discs are likely candidates for this kind of back surgery which is conducted using local anaesthetic for the majority of patients.  For far lateral disc herniation arthroscopic spinal surgery is often beneficial but may not be as suitable for conditions of spinal stenosis or spinal instability.  Open discectomies have a higher risk of scarring occurring around the nerves, a complication which is reduced using arthroscopic techniques.

Arthroscopic surgery on other areas of the body, such as the knees, has been conducted for many years with great success at minimizing recovery times and complication of more open techniques.  Surgeons have developed the techniques of arthroscopic surgery for spinal procedures such as fusion (arthrodesis) in order to reduce the trauma on surrounding tissues that can occur with more traditional invasive procedures.  Video-assisted spine arthrodesis (VASA) or spine fusion can allow surgeons to place structural grafts to stabilize the spine in a similar fashion to open spinal fusion.  Less bleeding usually occurs during this type of surgery and there is a lesser degree of impact on the bones, joints, muscles, and nerves in the back.  In the thoracic spine the procedures is conducted using a thorascope and in the peritioneal and abdominal cavities using a laparoscope.  Multiple small incisions are made to allow access to the spine, and specialize tiny surgical instruments are fed through these incisions to carry out the procedure.

Next Read about: Spine Surgery Procedures (Discectomy, Foraminotomy, Laminotomy, and Laminectomy)