Minimally invasive fusion surgeries are necessary to provide spine stabilization, but they offer significant advantages over open fusion surgeries. All minimally invasive procedures cause considerably less trauma to the muscles and soft tissues of the back, ensuring less pain and faster healing. Recovery times are shorter, and patients will experience relief from pain due to degenerative discs and other spine health conditions almost immediately. For more information about minimally invasive spine fusion or other spinal treatment options, contact AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health for an appointment with Dr. Chetan Patel. Call Call407-303-5452 for an appointment.
What Does Fusion Do for the Spine?
Spinal fusion is the process of artificially turning two or more vertebras into a single segment of bone. This is achieved using a variety of different hardware, as well as bone grafts. The goal of fusion is to provide spinal stability – instability can be created by a number of different conditions, including herniated discs, degenerative discs, kyphosis, scoliosis, fracturing and more. When the spine is unstable, unwanted motion causes pain and leads to compression, as well as the chance of deformities (fracturing can lead to kyphosis, which is an unnatural curvature of the spine in which it begins to take on a C or U shape).
What Benefits Does a Minimally Invasive Treatment Offer?
Minimally invasive spine fusion is performed as an alternative to traditional open surgeries. In older surgical styles, the back would be cut open and the muscles covering the spine would be cut as well. The immediate upshot of these procedures was an increased chance for infection, significant scar tissue development, lengthy healing times and considerable pain during the recovery process. By using minimally invasive methods, Dr. Chetan Patel can provide patients with an alternative to open surgery.
How Does Minimally Invasive Fusion Work?
This procedure is done using computer imaging and laparoscopic equipment to aid the surgeon in seeing the area to be fused clearly, as well as to ensure that minimal incisions must be made. A tube retractor is used to access the spine by creating a tunnel between muscle tissue rather than cutting. Once the surgeon has accessed the area to be fused, the degenerative disc is removed and plates are installed. Pedicle screws are used to attach plates to each vertebral level in the fusion and to hold the bone graft material in place. The screws and plates also provide stability during the fusion process – hardware alone is not able to provide long-term stability as it will degrade over time.
Bone Graft Options
In the past, the only option for bone graft material was bone taken from the patient’s own hip or from a cadaver. However, new synthetic proteins are now available that provide patients with even less discomfort, as no donor material needs to be harvested from the hip.
For more information about minimally invasive fusion or other spinal surgery options, contact Dr. Chetan Patel. Call AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health at Call407-303-5452 to schedule a consultation.