What is Endoscopic Spine Surgery?
Endoscopic spine surgery is a very specific type of surgery that uses specialized video feeds and instruments passed through small incisions to gain access to the damaged area of the spine. The approach, whether it is through the abdomen, chest, or joint cavities will be determined by the specific individual patient circumstance.
When comparing endoscopic back surgery to open back surgery, there are three major benefits to the procedure. Because of the use of an endoscope for visualization, the incision to gain access to the damaged area is much smaller. With minimal incisions and no need to cut or tear the surrounding tissue and muscle there is a much shorter recovery time required for endoscopic spine surgery. Combining these two benefits leads us to the third; less pain.
The History of Endoscopic Spine Surgery
For several decades now endoscopic techniques have been used for the exclusive purpose of diagnostics. With breakthroughs in the late 1970’s and 80’s diagnosis was no longer the single purpose for employing endoscopic techniques, we could now treat alongside the diagnosis with related equipment. Surgery has progressed to the point now where conditions in the spine are now treatable without large incisions and or damaging surrounding tissues.
Conditions treatable with Endoscopic Back Surgery
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Spinal Tumors
- Herniated Disc
In all of the above conditions, endoscopic surgery will speed healing and recovery, while minimizing the pain felt by the patient, both physically and financially.
How does Endoscopic Spine Surgery Work
The spine surgeon is able to protect the surrounding muscles and tissues by visualizing the damaged disc through the endoscope. Special working tubes are inserted alongside the endoscope allowing the surgeon to manipulate the tools necessary to repair the damage. By using endoscopic techniques, traditional surgeries that once required 3 – 6 months of recovery now only require 3 – 6 weeks!
For all the wonders involved with endoscopic spine surgery, it doesn’t treat every condition. Some conditions are too severe or have progressed too far where a traditional back surgery involving fusion of the spine would be required. It is important to explore all other options before this fusion takes place because it is permanent. Speak with a specialist and even seek a second opinion if you are not comfortable with the answers you get.