Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
A Revolutionary Way of Treatments
Most people who are considering surgery would prefer a minimally invasive procedure but very few actually understand what this means. Minimally invasive does not refer to a specific procedure. Rather, it is more properly described as a philosophy. In order to understand this approach, it’s important to understand the traditional method of spine surgery and compare it with this newer more effective method.
Traditional Spine Surgery
Increased Recovery Time
Large Incisions (5 in+)
Higher Infection Risk
Longer Hospital Stay
When approaching surgery, the traditional technique was to make a large incision with wide exposure to allow for complete visualization of the anatomy. This way surgeons could be comfortable that they were operating in the right area and doing the right procedure. Unfortunately, this required large incisions extensive dissection and subsequently damage that issues. This increases recovery time increases the risk of infection increases surgical time ultimately this leads to increased length of stay in the hospital and increased risks of peri-operative complications.
Minimally Invasive Surgery Today
Quicker at-Home Recovery
As we have gained a better understanding of surgical anatomy and with greater availability of resources such as image guidance and improve surgical instruments such as arthroscopes and specialized retractors we have been able to greatly reduce the size of surgical incisions. ultimately the goal is to accomplish the same procedure with minimizing collateral damage. In this way a lumbar Fusion that traditionally would have been done with the 5 or 6 inch scission in a surgery that lasted 3 to 4 hours and may have had blood loss that was significant enough to require a transfusion, can now be done through 2 small incisions less than an inch in length with tissue spreading techniques that minimize muscle damage.
Minimally Invasive surgery can accomplish the same decompression and stabilization of the spine. In a skilled physician’s hands, the surgery will take less time than the old method of open procedure. Additional equipment and significant training and experience are required which is why true minimally invasive spine surgery continues to only be done by a few surgeons.
Recent Blogs on Minimally Invasive Treatments
Our colleague at Napa Valley orthopaedic, Dr. John Diana, is not only a stellar orthopaedic surgeon, but also a very talented runner. We want to congratulate him on his recent silver win at the Western Endurance Run. He was featured in the Napa Register: "Before...
Photo courtesy of Summit Orthopedics A compression fracture is a break of a vertebra or bone in the spine, which commonly occurs in patients with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that lessens the density of bones, causing them to be weaker, which can then...
Photo courtesy of Teeter Lumbar disc herniation, or herniated disc, is when a piece of the disc - soft cartilage cushion that is between the vertebra or bones in the spine - bulges out of its disc space and into the spinal canal. Because of the limited space the...
Cervical Disc Replacement: What I Learned After 15 years & Hundreds of Cases By Dr. HuffmanCervical disc replacement is still a new form of spine surgery to many surgeons, but it has been a tried and true part of my surgical practice since I began. I participated...
Using Marijuana for Pain Pain is the primary complaint of most of the patients that present to the Huffman clinic. I have written about pain and the use of opioids to control pain as well as about natural ways to decrease pain through diet and exercise. One of the...
The Opioid Crisis & Why It Matters What is all the fuss about narcotics, specifically, about opioids? It all starts with pain. Back pain, neck pain, any pain. On the surface pain seems like a simple sensation. It is the brain’s way of interpreting nerve signals...
Stem Cells: A Therapy for the Spine One of the most common things patients ask me about are stem cells. At this year’s American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery, I had the chance to meet with Carl Llewellyn, President and CEO of Lipogems SPO. Lipogems is the leading...
Anti-Inflammatory Diet The past two days in clinic I have had two patients ask the question, "what else can I do to help with my chronic back pain?" In both cases the patients were exercising, they were non smokers, and they were thin. They also both had chronic...
"My husband, Mom and I have been patients of Dr. Huffman’s for quite a number of years. The BEST spine surgeon in the county! He has operated on me twice in the past year with amazing results. Would highly recommend this gifted man."
- Vivian B., Facebook Review
"I have been a patient of Dr Huffman's for many years, with some major back issues. The care I received (and still receive) is exemplary. Staff members Sarah and Dawn are amazing. I wouldn't go anywhere else."
- Deborah N., Facebook Review
"Dr. Huffman is by far the best spine surgeon for so many reasons. I have worked for him, with him and been apart of his surgeries with assisted fluoroscopy. He is brilliant, dedicated and really cares about his patients. That said why would anyone go anywhere else. Did I mention he loves gummy bears, who doesn't love that."
- Sheila B., Facebook Review
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