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Options for minimally invasive spine surgery have seemingly grown exponentially over the past few years.

Is back pain ruing your quality of life?  The medical field has been rapidly moving from traditional “open” surgeries to minimally invasive procedures that cause less trauma to the body, reduce infection rates, and get patients back to their normal activities more quickly.  The Phoenix market is one where patients have the option for laser assisted procedures, which have been a useful tool for certain types of spine  procedures.

Following this trend, spine surgeries like discectomy have also been made minimally invasive using technologies such as lasers and microsurgical instruments.

Microdiscectomy procedure can help with Sciatica.

During a minimally invasive discectomy, also called a microdiscectomy or microdecompression surgery, your spine surgeon will make a small incision, and using a microscope and microsurgical instruments, the doctor removes a portion of bony material to expose the damaged disc.  Once the compressed nerve is located, the surgeon removes the damaged and ruptured portions of the disc, effectively freeing the nerve from compression, in the hopes of reliving the pain associated with sciatica.

Microdiscectomy surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, but patients may be asked to limit their activity for up to six weeks following the procedure.  The success rate can be high–even between 90% and 95%.

Are you a candidate for minimally invasive back surgery?

Minimally invasive discectomy may be recommended when more conservative measures to treat lower back and leg pain or sciatica associated with herniated discs have not been effective.  It has been shown to be especially successful in treating severe leg pain, and patients often notice pain relief immediately, with numbness and tingling sensations disappearing over the next few weeks as the nerve heals.

Other minimally invasive spine procedures

Minimally invasive spinal decompression surgeries that are similar to microdiscectomy include microlaminectomy, microlaminotomy and microforaminotomy.

Spinal fusion surgeries can also be done minimally invasively through a very small incision in the front of the body.  Minimally invasive spinal fusion surgery avoids the need to cut through thick back muscles, offers better visibility, and allows for minimal interference with fragile nerves.

In some instances, minimally invasive artificial disc replacement is also available as an alternative to spinal fusion.