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Spinal Insights

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Minimally invasive spine surgery (MIS) employs unique surgical techniques designed to minimize intraoperative blood loss, speed recovery, and reduce postoperative pain. MIS techniques allow surgeons to perform standard approaches through smaller incisions, splitting muscles instead of cutting through them. MIS often employs intraoperative neuronavigation technology to streamline surgery, maximizing the approach while minimizing incision size. A very common application of MIS is in Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion/TLIF.The standard (open) TLF approach involves a lengthy, midline incision and dissection of the back muscles off the spine. This involves prolonged retraction, significant blood loss, and postoperative pain that typically requires a 2-3 day stay in the hospital—and this is for only one level of surgery! MIS allows the surgeon to perform this procedure through two small lateral incisions and minimal muscle dissection. This approach typically takes 1.5 to 2 hours, results in minimal blood loss,and patients typically are discharged from the hospital the next day, requiring less pain medication.