Today, our doctors are using new equipment and new technology to conduct minimally invasive spine surgery that results in much quicker recovery times.

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Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery 

Minimally Invasive SurgeryMinimally Invasive Spine Surgery is a Surgery in which instead of creating a large incision, your surgeon will make one or more tiny incisions — each very small in length. Surgical tools for cutting, cauterizing, and suturing get inserted through tiny incisions and manipulated by the surgeon.  While the procedure continues, the doctor is guided by real-time X-ray images of the patient’s spine. Surgeons use minimally invasive techniques for both simple and complex procedures such as fusions. In comparison to conventional surgery, this technique means shorter hospital stays, a quicker recovery, less pain, and a smaller risk of infection.

Doctors use minimally invasive Spine surgery to correct the following conditions and more:

  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Some spinal deformities
  • Spinal instability
  • Spondylolysis (a defect in a part of lower vertebrae)
  • Fractured vertebra
  • Removal of a tumor in the spine
  • Infection in the spine

Questions and Answers

How does minimally invasive surgery differ from traditional surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery involves using smaller incisions and specialized instruments to access the surgical site. This results in less trauma to the surrounding tissues, less blood loss, and a faster recovery time for the patient. Traditional surgery involves making a larger incision to access the surgical site, which can cause more trauma to the surrounding tissues and a longer recovery time.

What are the benefits of minimally invasive surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery offers a number of benefits over traditional surgery, including less pain, less scarring, and a faster recovery time. Patients who undergo minimally invasive surgery typically have a shorter hospital stay and can return to their normal activities much sooner than those who undergo traditional surgery.

What types of procedures can be performed using minimally invasive surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery can be used to perform a wide range of surgical procedures, including hernia repair, gallbladder removal, appendectomy, and prostate surgery. It can also be used for more complex procedures, such as heart surgery and spinal surgery. However, not all procedures can be performed using minimally invasive techniques, and the decision to use this approach will depend on the individual patient’s condition and the surgeon’s expertise.

“Minimally invasive spine surgery consists of making the smallest incision possible with the least amount of soft tissue trauma to alleviate the underlying spine condition.”

Ishaq Syed, MD

The Meaning of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

In recent years, the field of spine surgery has seen significant advancements in the form of minimally invasive techniques. These innovative procedures offer a host of benefits over traditional open surgeries These include reduced trauma to surrounding tissues, smaller incisions, quicker recovery times, and improved patient outcomes. This article explores the concept of minimally invasive spine surgery and its numerous advantages in treating various spinal conditions, such as lumbar stenosis, sciatica, herniated discs, and cervical issues.

With minimally invasive surgery, your doctor can employ methods that reduce the size and quantity of incisions. Generally speaking, it is seen as safer than open surgery. Generally, you’ll feel more comfortable as you heal and recover more rapidly. Additionally, you’ll waste less time in the hospital. In conventional open surgery, your doctor makes a single, significant incision to view the area of your body they’re working on. In minimally invasive surgery, your doctor makes numerous tiny incisions in your skin and inserts tiny instruments, cameras, and lights. As a result, your surgeon can do surgery with less skin and muscle damage. Robotic technology is used in some minimally invasive procedures to provide the surgeon with greater accuracy and precision control.

What Takes Place During Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

To “sleep” through a minimally invasive operation, the patient will get an anesthetic. The surgeon then inserts the endoscope via a very small incision. To provide surgeons with a good view of the surgical region, images from the endoscope are displayed on monitors.  Special surgical equipment or devices are then placed through additional tiny incisions during the procedure. The surgeon uses these to diagnose, address, or resolve the problem. Endoscopes come in a wide variety of styles. Some have small surgical instruments attached to the end. While some are flexible, others are rigid. Depending on the procedure, the endoscope has different names.  As an illustration:

  • Colonoscope: used for operations on the colon (such as a colonoscopy).
  • Laparoscope: used for abdominal procedures (laparoscopic surgery).
  • Thoracoscopy: used for chest operations (thoracoscopic surgery).

Understanding Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Minimally invasive spine surgery, also known as MIS, is a specialized approach that utilizes state-of-the-art technology.  With advanced surgical techniques our surgeons address various spinal disorders while minimizing disruption to adjacent structures. It involves smaller incisions compared to traditional open surgeries, leading to less pain, reduced scarring, and shorter hospital stays.

Conditions Treated with Minimally Invasive Techniques:

  • Lumbar Stenosis: Minimally invasive lumbar laminectomy provides an effective procedure to alleviate spinal stenosis.  This is a condition where the spinal canal narrows and puts pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. The surgery involves removing a portion of the lamina to relieve the pressure and alleviate symptoms like back pain and leg numbness.
  • Sciatica and Herniated Discs: Surgeons use minimally invasive discectomy to treat sciatica caused by herniated discs. In this procedure, the surgeon removes the damaged portion of the herniated disc, thereby reducing pressure on the affected nerve.  This provides relief from pain and tingling sensations.
  • Cervical Issues: Surgeons use minimally invasive cervical spine surgery to address conditions like herniated discs, spinal instability, or nerve compression in the neck region. By accessing the affected area through small incisions, surgeons can effectively decompress nerves and stabilize the cervical spine, leading to improved mobility and pain relief.

The Role of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeons

Minimally invasive spine surgeons are highly skilled specialists who have undergone extensive training and possess advanced expertise in performing these intricate procedures. Their proficiency allows them to use specialized instruments and technologies, such as endoscopes and surgical robots, to navigate and treat targeted areas with precision.

Robotic Surgery

Robotic spine surgery, or robot-assisted spine surgery, describes using robotic technology to assist with guidance during spinal neurosurgery. This minimally invasive spine surgery technology employs small incisions, a camera, and tiny surgical equipment.  This makes it comparable to laparoscopic surgery and other less invasive procedures. However, robotic surgery is much more sophisticated and employs cameras that provide a 3D color image magnified 10 times. Robotic surgery in some cases gives greater control, flexibility, and precision.

Surgeons successfully use Robotic systems in the following spine procedures:

  • Anesthetic block for nerve pain
  • Correction of spinal deformities
  • Anterior, lateral, and posterior fusion
  • Decompression surgery
  • Revision surgery after previous surgeries for conditions such as spondylolisthesis, stenosis, spondylolysis, vertebral fractures, and osteomyelitis
  • Spinal fusion
  • Tumor resection
  • Vertebroplasty for compression fractures in the spine

Details About Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Although the practice of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) dates back to the early 1800s, it only really gained popularity as a diagnostic tool in the 1930s and 1940s. Due to advancements in camera and video technology, the surgical technique truly began to gain popularity in the middle of the 1980s. This gave surgeons the anatomical information they needed to carry out more difficult treatments.

Solid-state cameras and high-definition video made it possible for surgeons to view their work on a video screen rather than with their own eyes. This has been made possible by the laparoscope, a device necessary for MIS. Small surgical instruments make use of fiber optics, light, and high-definition cameras. The light enables the camera to capture a clean image of its surroundings, which it transmits to a video monitor for the medical staff to watch. Due to this, surgeons are able to operate in real time and with a very high level of accuracy and precision.

Typically, Less Blood Loss Occurs

In contrast, to open surgery, MIS greatly lowers the risk of blood loss. This is mostly because it needs smaller incisions. Your risk of blood loss and the potential need for a blood transfusion increases with larger incisions. This increases the attraction of MIS for many patients and doctors who are concerned about complications. Blood loss is less likely, which benefits more than just your health. Additionally, it might ease your anxiety before the operation. It’s quite normal to feel anxious before having surgery, but knowing there’s a lesser chance of some consequences might make you feel less anxious.

Usually, There Is Less Pain

Although it’s normal for patients to be nervous leading up to surgery, recovering is challenging and patients will suffer from pain. But the degree of pain patients experience from minimally invasive surgery will not last as long and is far less severe than with open surgery.  The small incisions made during the procedure will heal quickly and with less discomfort than a large incision from open surgery. Based on the skill and expertise of our doctors, when all is considered, minimally invasive surgery is far better for the patient’s health.

Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery

Obese individuals benefit from minimally invasive procedures because they are less likely to get infections or other problems that require extensive incisions on the patient’s body. These appear better for patients with pain problems and for whom a big incision might need the use of additional painkillers, which is often avoidable with lesser invasive procedures. Small incisions appear great for elderly patients because they allow them to heal more quickly and avoid problems like blood clots in the legs.

Benefits of Minimally Invasive Spine Procedures:

  • Less trauma to muscles and soft tissue
  • Quick recovery time
  • Minimal pain or discomfort following the surgery
  • Immediate leg pain relief in most cases
  • Fewer problems and risks with minimally invasive spine surgery
  • Small incision and minimal scar tissue
  • High success rate
  • No or very small blood loss
  • Use of local anesthesia
  • Visual control of the procedure
  • No hardware placement or loss of mobility
  • Non Invasive back procedures

When is a Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedure, Not an Option?

Every patient is different, and we treat each individual patient based on a number of things. In some cases, open surgery is the preferred method. For example, if the surgeon needs to make a large incision to expose tissue and structures then that procedure will take place.  In addition, small incisions just aren’t practical for some spine procedures. We will discuss the issues with you and present the facts.  We want to ensure that there is a clear understanding of the procedure and the reason for the procedure.  Please note that surgery is the last choice.  So, if physical therapy, a brace, observation, or medicine will reduce or stop the pain, that is our first choice. Other than that, we will use the smallest surgical procedure whenever possible.

Minimally invasive spine surgery has revolutionized the treatment of various spinal conditions, offering patients faster recovery and reduced pain. As technology and surgical techniques continue to advance, the future of spine surgery appears promising. The new techniques provide patients with the best possible care and optimal quality of life.

For individuals seeking the expertise of minimally invasive spine surgeons, centers specializing in this field, like the Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute, offer comprehensive care and state-of-the-art solutions to address a wide range of spinal issues. Consultation with a specialist in minimally invasive spine surgery can provide patients with personalized treatment plans.  These plans will achieve the best possible results for each patient’s unique condition.

Why Choose the Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute

The Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute with offices in DallasPlano, and Frisco, Texas specializes in the treatment of scoliosis and other spinal conditions, including neck and back pain. They offer a range of non-surgical and surgical treatments including physical therapy, medication, injections, and surgical interventions. In the past, we have sometimes been referred to as the Dallas Minimally Invasive Spine Institute.

The Institute’s team of spine specialists, orthopedic spine surgeons, and pain management specialists, work together to develop individualized treatment plans for each patient. They use the latest technology and techniques to provide effective, minimally invasive treatments that minimize pain and recovery time. Surgeons Richard Hostin, MDDevesh Ramnath, MD, Ishaq Syed, MD, Shyam Kishan, MD, and Kathryn Wiesman, MD treat patients with minimally invasive surgery whenever possible. The surgeons at the Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute use Minimally invasive spine surgery to treat conditions that affect the spinal column and the nerves that run through it.


Appointments within 24 HoursFinally, the surgeons at the Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute treat the conditions mentioned earlier on this page with minimally invasive spine surgery techniques.  The benefits typically involve smaller incisions, less tissue disruption, and faster recovery times than open surgery. However, not all patients are candidates for this type of surgery.  Patients should talk with their spine surgeon about the type of procedure that is best for their condition.  We believe we are among the very best in the nation.  We invite you to call the Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute and make an appointment and note we have appointments within 24 hours.


National Cancer Institute: Minimally Invasive Surgery
Science Direct: Minimally Invasive Surgery

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