Minimally invasive surgery involves the use of smaller incisions compared to traditional open surgery. With minimally invasive techniques, neurosurgeons such as David Barnett, MD, can treat various spine conditions while preserving the integrity of the surrounding structures.
The less invasive approach to spine surgery may be appropriate for patients undergoing various spinal procedures, such as a microdiscectomy, which is performed to treat spinal disc herniation. Consult Dr. Barnett to find out if a minimally invasive procedure could be appropriate for you.
Comparing minimally invasive techniques to open surgery
With traditional open surgery, a larger incision is made and muscles are moved to the side in order to access the spine. This maneuver is known as “retraction.” Although retraction is necessary in an open surgery, it can cause back pain following the procedure during the recovery process. In addition, the overall recovery timeline for an open surgery is lengthier and there is an increased possibility of complications.
Whenever possible, Dr. Barnett prefers to perform minimally invasive procedures for his patients. Although this approach is more technically challenging, a minimally invasive spine surgery is far more comfortable for the patient. It takes less time to heal from smaller incisions than it does to heal from one large incision, and there is less risk of complication.
What is a microdiscectomy?
A microdiscectomy is an example of a spine surgery that can be performed with minimally invasive techniques. Its aim is to treat the pain and other symptoms caused by disc herniation. A patient’s spine has intervertebral discs located between the vertebrae or bones. The discs are made of a tough exterior “shell” and an inner spongy material. Their role is to provide shock absorption and flexibility to the spine. Disc herniation occurs when a disc develops a crack and the inner material protrudes outward, where it can compress a nearby nerve, causing pain and other symptoms.
During a microdiscectomy, Dr. Barnett will remove the herniated portion of the disc. This relieves the pressure on the nerve, which in turn addresses the symptoms of disc herniation. The surgery has a favorable track record. Patients often report immediate relief of pain following this minimally invasive procedure. Neurological symptoms, such as numbness or weakness in a leg, may take longer to resolve, as the nerve must heal.
In addition to disc herniation, a microdiscectomy can also be used to treat symptoms of bone spurs. If sciatica is the result of a structure compressing a spinal nerve, then microdiscectomy may be indicated for this issue, as well.
Who is a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery?
Patients who are experiencing persistent pain and neurological symptoms caused by an anatomical issue correctable with surgery may be good candidates for minimally invasive spine surgery. However, surgery is rarely the first option considered. Although minimally invasive surgery has a favorable safety profile and track record, it’s still surgery and the decision to have any type of surgery should never be taken lightly. Patients are advised to take the time to learn about their spine condition and all of their treatment options, and they are encouraged to seek a second opinion.
As a conservative surgeon, Dr. Barnett encourages his patients to exhaust nonsurgical treatment methods before considering surgery. Physical therapy, over-the-counter medications, chiropractic care, and steroid injections are all examples of conservative treatment options that may benefit patients with spine issues. If those treatment options have been exhausted, Dr. Barnett will carefully review the patient’s medical history to determine if minimally invasive spine surgery is appropriate.
Contact Dr. Barnett’s Dallas office for a consultation
Any type of surgery requires a careful decision-making process, and it’s critically important to feel that you can trust your surgeon. Dr. David Barnett is a board-certified Dallas neurosurgeon with more than 30 years of experience. Formerly the Chief of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Baylor University Medical Center, Dr. Barnett has developed an enduring reputation for clinical excellence and attentiveness to his patients. Contact us today to request a consultation and find out if minimally invasive spine surgery could be right for you.