Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery services offered in Seattle, WA

You may have a hard time imagining spine surgery without a long stay in the hospital and extended time to recover, but it’s possible with minimally invasive spine surgery. At Seattle Spine Institute, Paul E. Schwaegler, MD, and Jeff Fernandez, PA, have years of experience performing minimally invasive spine surgery as an outpatient procedure, allowing many patients to go home the same day. To learn how minimally invasive spine surgery can ease your low back pain, call the office in Seattle, Washington, or book an appointment online today.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Q & A

What is minimally invasive spine surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery is defined by important differences that set it apart from traditional open surgery:

Small incisions

Dr. Schwaegler performs minimally invasive spine surgery using specially designed instruments that fit through an incision less than one inch long. By comparison, open surgery needs an incision that’s at least 5-6 inches long.

Muscle preservation

If you have a traditional open procedure, your surgeon cuts through all the tissues and pulls them back to access the spine. During minimally invasive surgery, they don't cut through your muscles.

They use a round retractor to gently separate the muscle fibers, creating just enough space for the slim instruments. After your surgery, the muscles naturally return to their normal position.

What advantages do I gain with minimally invasive spine surgery?

Minimally invasive surgical procedures offer advantages, such as:

  • Less bleeding during surgery
  • Less postoperative pain
  • Lower risk of infection
  • Minimal scarring
  • Faster healing
  • Quicker recovery

Though many people can have outpatient spine surgery, those who need to be hospitalized have a significantly shorter stay compared to those who have had open surgery.

When might I need minimally invasive spine surgery?

The Seattle Spine Institute team begins your spine treatment with the most appropriate conservative therapies (like medication, bracing, and physical therapy). If you still have pain after several months, it’s time to talk about minimally invasive spine surgery.

The team performs surgery to repair many spinal conditions, including:

  • Herniated discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Sciatic nerve pain
  • Pinched nerves
  • Vertebral compression fractures
  • Spondylolisthesis (slipped vertebra)
  • Facet joint syndrome (osteoarthritis)

They may also recommend surgery to treat post-laminectomy syndrome (failed back surgery). That condition occurs when low back pain persists after having surgery to repair the underlying problem.

What type of minimally invasive spine surgery might I need?

The Seattle Spine Institute team has extensive experience performing many types of minimally invasive spine surgeries, including:

  • Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF)
  • Interlaminar lumbar instrumented fusion (ILIF)
  • Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF)
  • Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (XLIF)
  • Coflex® Interlaminar Stabilization®
  • Laminectomy and other decompression procedures
  • Microdiscectomy and discectomy
  • SImmetry® SI joint fusion
  • Total disc replacement
  • Spinal fusion

Though they use minimally invasive procedures whenever possible, some people aren’t good candidates. The team reviews your overall health and spine condition to recommend the safest procedure for you.

To learn if minimally invasive spine surgery can help relieve your low back pain, call Seattle Spine Institute or book an appointment online today.