Monday, March 04, 2013
Spinal Surgery Made Better
More and more surgeons are moving to the use of “minimally invasive” techniques – and spine surgery is no exception. Many of the hospitals of Covenant Health offer this option for surgery on the spine. The term “minimally invasive” refers to surgical techniques in which an operation is performed through one or more small incisions rather than a single large one.
“I use minimally invasive techniques for the majority of cases,” says Dr. William Reid, neurosurgeon at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. “Smaller incisions result in less surgical trauma, decreased blood loss, reduced post operative pain, and faster discharge.”
The ability to perform spine surgery through small incisions has been aided by technology such as magnified vision, improved lighting, micro surgical instruments and 3D image guidance systems, all resulting in more precise surgical exposure and treatment.
In the case of lumbar spinal fusions, Dr. Reid uses only two, one-inch incisions using minimally invasive techniques. This lowers the risk of a spinal fluid leak and infection with a more rapid recovery and return to normal, daily activities. This procedure is often performed on patients diagnosed with spinal stenosis or spinal spondylolisthesis (an instability in the spine).
Potential candidates for other minimally invasive lumbar or cervical spine procedures are those diagnosed with disc herniations or spinal stenosis. Most of these patients can have surgery and be discharged from the hospital on the same day. Diagnosis is based on the patient’s symptoms, physical examination and diagnostic imaging such as MRI. These procedures can be performed both by neurosurgeons and orthopaedic surgeons who specialize in spinal procedures.
For more information on the specific minimally invasive spine surgeries performed at your Covenant Health hospital, please call (865) 541-4500.