Open Back Surgery Vs. Minimally Invasive

Open Back Surgery Incision Vs. Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Back surgery traditionally involves a large incision to open up the spine and the removal of the lamina to expose the discs underneath.  This type of traditional open back surgery requires the retraction and clamping of connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves in the operative area in order to grant the surgeon visual access to the lamina and discs.  Muscles in the back may also be cut during this type of open surgery or clamped in such a fashion that they suffered permanent damage as a results.  This amount of trauma can cause bruising, bleeding, more extensive scarring, both internally and externally, and longer recovery times than more modern approaches to back surgery.  Complications are also more likely in this type of surgery due to the invasive-ness and the length of the operation.


In many cases the preferred option for a patient is a more minimally invasive spine surgery.  However, in some cases the traditional open method is necessary as multiple levels of the spine may require attention or fusion may need to occur. Traditional fusion techniques require considerable access to the spine and destroy a large amount of tissue in the process of fitting stabilizing instrumentation.  Advances in microsurgery have not occurred at the same rate for patients requiring spinal fusion despite attempts to use smaller incisions and bone fragments passed through a cannula to achieve fusion.  Failure rates have been high for minimal access spinal fusion and the open method is still preferred by the majority of spinal surgeons.  Research continues into devices and methods to improve minimal access spinal fusion outcome and some surgeons have had success with the procedure.
Open Back Surgery Video

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