Lower back pain and neck pain affect most people at some point in their lives. Spine-related back pains can severely limit your ability to walk or work, often leading to debilitating pain. When you suffer from back pain, you must contact a pain specialist immediately to determine the true root cause of pain and seek treatment.
Generally speaking, back pain treatments may include medications, physical therapy, chiropractic treatments, steroid injections, or surgeries. Most people can manage back pain with a combination of medications and physical therapy. However, if you have severe back pain or chronic pain, you may need to opt for minimally invasive treatments or traditional surgical treatments.
In this article, we give you a brief overview of minimally invasive surgeries and traditional open surgeries.
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Minimally invasive spine surgery refers to some of the latest and most innovative techniques for spine care. As the name suggests, these are minimally invasive procedures that don’t include massive surgical operations.
During the procedure, the doctor will create a small incision in your lower back. The incision is tiny — the pain doctor uses advanced devices to spread the muscle fibers and visualize the underlying spinal nerves. There’s no need to make large openings to visualize the region. After accessing the region, the pain doctor will use advanced devices to decompress spinal nerves, relieving pain. After the procedure, the pain doctor will suture up the incision.
Minimally invasive spine surgery is the recommended treatment for people with scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, and several other back pain conditions. In fact, advanced minimally invasive treatments can address most back pain issues with relative ease.
Advantages of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
- Since the incisions and sutures are tiny, you recover quickly.
- You can resume work with minimal downtime.
- The smaller the incisions, the lower the risk of infections. As such, minimally invasive spine surgeries are a lot safer, with a negligible risk of infections.
- You suffer a minimal loss of blood.
- Your back muscles are left unaffected.
- The procedure causes minimal pain or discomfort.
Disadvantages of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Minimally invasive spine surgeries are more difficult for the pain specialist because of limited visibility. However, that’s only an issue if you consult an inexperienced pain specialist. When opting for minimally invasive spine surgeries, you must find the most talented, experienced, and reputable doctors specializing in minimally invasive treatment options.
Traditional Spine Surgery
Most old-school spine surgeons practice traditional open spine surgery, even though it’s no longer considered the gold standard in spine pain treatments. Unlike minimally invasive procedures, traditional spine surgeries need large incisions.
During traditional spine surgeries, the pain specialist has to create a large incision on your back and dissect the spinal muscles to reveal the underlying bones. The spine surgeon needs complete visibility for the underlying spine to remove all the materials leading to spinal nerve compression. After the surgery, the instruments are removed from your back, and the incisions are sutured.
Pros of Traditional Spine Surgery
- The doctor actively visualizes the underlying spine structure.
- Traditional spine surgeries have been performed for decades.
- Some of the most advanced and severe spinal problems necessitate open surgery.
Cons of Traditional Spine Surgery
- Large incisions drastically increase your risk of infections. As such, traditional surgeries are riskier than minimally invasive procedures.
- Your body suffers a greater loss of blood during the procedure.
- The procedure includes the dissection of back muscles, which means you need a lot more recovery time for your muscles to heal.
- There’s considerable post-operative pain and discomfort.
- You need to take several days or weeks off work while you recover.
Verdict: Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery or Traditional Surgery?
When deciding whether to choose a minimally invasive spine surgery or a traditional surgery, you must consult with a trusted spine surgeon or pain specialist. You must consult a top-rated and board-certified spine specialist who has considerable experience with both procedures, so they can guide you in the correct direction.