What Is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Written by Jason M. Highsmith, MD

Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) uses advanced technology and innovative techniques to treat back pain and neck pain caused by a variety of spinal disorders.

Some of the spinal conditions MISS can treat are:

Through computer-assisted technology and highly specialized tools, minimally invasive surgery is an attractive option for patients who want a quicker recovery after surgery, less post-operative pain, and smaller incisions.

Above: Image of the spine taken during MISS

Minimally invasive spine surgery minimizes soft tissue damage (eg, muscles). MISS may be a less risky, less invasive option compared to traditional open spine surgery. Although there are advantages of MISS, the goals of MISS procedures are the same as open traditional procedures.

The 2 main goals of minimally invasive spine surgery are:

There are 3 main minimally invasive spine surgery techniques:

These 3 types of MISS can be used in specific spine surgeries, such as discectomy, foraminotomy, and laminectomy and laminotomy.

Sometimes a fluoroscope is used during minimally invasive spine surgery. Fluoroscopes are x-ray machines used to guide your surgeon during your procedure. They give your surgeon the best views of your spine.

Keep in mind, though, that surgery should be a last resort for treating your pain caused by a spine condition.

If you've tried non-surgical treatments, such as pain medications, rest, and physical therapy, in the last 6 to 12 months and they're not working for you, then you may want to consider spine surgery, and minimally invasive spine surgery may be an option for you.

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Conditions Treated with Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery