Small Incisions, Big Benefits
Most people don’t get excited about the prospect of having surgery. However, with today’s innovative options, many people can have surgery with shorter recovery times and less pain. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) refers to procedures that involve fewer, smaller incisions, and quicker recovery. Is MIS the best option? Here’s what to ask the doctor.
How does MIS work?
Minimally invasive procedures are associated with minimal trauma to the body. In open surgeries, surgeons make larger cuts to be able to see inside the body. With MIS, surgeons make a few small incisions and then use small, flexible instruments with a camera attached to see inside the body.
What are the benefits?
The result of MIS is less scarring, a shorter stay in the hospital, less pain, and a faster recovery. One of the reasons these procedures are growing in popularity is the decreased need for opioid pain medications. In fact, one study showed that patients who had minimally invasive spine surgery had over a 51% chance of not needing opioids for pain management. In contrast, those who underwent open surgery only had a 15% chance of avoiding narcotic use.
Can my procedure be done with these techniques?
More and more procedures are being done with minimally invasive techniques. In many cases, surgeons will opt for minimally invasive procedures wherever possible. People should understand that not all patients are optimal candidates for MIS. Additionally, sometimes surgeons will have to switch to open techniques partway through surgery, and patients should be prepared for this possibility.
What about robots?
A branch of MIS, called robot-assisted surgery, uses a robotic arm to mimic the surgeon’s hand movements. This can allow surgeons a higher level of precision and control. Traditionally, surgeons regularly have to stand for hours on end in the operating room. With robot-assisted techniques, surgeons can assume a more comfortable position, which can contribute to lower rates of physician fatigue.
Many spine surgeries can be done with these techniques. This spine surgery is an optimal choice when possible. Patients who need spine surgery should ask the surgeon about minimally invasive options.
Ask your surgeon
MIS can offer a range of benefits, from a shorter recovery time to lower pain and decreased dependence on pain medication. To learn more about the spine treatment options, consult a spine specialist.
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