Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Looking for Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery in Orange County?

Every day at the Hoag Spine Institute, our comprehensive team of specialists, physical therapists and spinal surgeons are setting Orange County’s standard for advanced, patient-focused care of the back and neck.

We’re dedicated to helping patients come back strong from spinal issues, utilizing next-generation technological advances, conservative approaches and the latest and most effective minimally invasive procedures. From spinal fusion to ending the pain of a herniated disc, for minimally invasive spinal surgery in Orange County, there’s just no place like Hoag. For a surgical consultation or second opinion, contact Hoag today at 949-764-1411 or through our online form.

Read on for what you need to know about minimally invasive spinal surgery, including specific types and conditions that can be treated and the many benefits of utilizing less-invasive techniques. 

What is Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery?

Minimally invasive spinal surgery is a type of surgery that uses short incisions, insertable cameras and small, specialized instruments to access and correct problems with the spine, including the vertebral column, spinal discs and surrounding soft tissue.

Minimally invasive spine surgery is an alternative to traditional “open” surgery for the spine, which is often performed through a long incision through the skin. Potential benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery include less postoperative pain, faster recovery time and less visible scarring.

What are the Different Types of Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery?

There are several types of minimally invasive spine surgery, usually categorized by which condition or part of the spine they’re designed to treat.

Different types of minimally invasive spine procedures include:
  • Microdiscectomy: Microdiscectomy is a procedure used to treat a herniated disc, a condition in which one of the natural cushioning pads between the vertebrae become damaged or bulge out of shape due to injuries or disc degeneration. Disc bulges can cause back pain by pressing on the spinal nerves (also called nerve compression). During a microdiscectomy, a healthcare provider uses a special microscope and instruments passed through small skin incisions to remove the herniated discs.
  • Cervical Arthroplasty: In this procedure, minimally invasive techniques are used to remove a damaged or distorted disc that’s causing pain in the neck (the cervical spine) before replacing it with an artificial disc.
  • Minimally Invasive Laminectomy: A form of spinal decompression surgery, minimally invasive laminectomy is a procedure that utilizes less-invasive techniques to treat spinal stenosis, a condition in which abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal — the hollow space inside the spinal column that protects the spinal cord — puts pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. During the procedure, surgeons fully remove the lamina, a part of each vertebra that lies close to the skin and covers the spinal canal, giving the nerves and spinal cord more room.
  • Minimally Invasive Laminotomy: Another form of spinal decompression surgery, laminotomy uses less-invasive techniques to remove only part of the lamina.
  • Percutaneous Fusion: Percutaneous fusion, also called minimally invasive spinal fusion, is a technique used to treat spinal instability, a condition in which vertebrae have become prone to abnormally moving or shifting out of place due to an injury or deformity. During a percutaneous fusion procedure, surgeons use minimally invasive techniques to insert rods, screws or plates, fusing damaged or unstable vertebrae together to increase their stability. Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion or TLIF is a common type of spinal fusion used to treat instability in the spinal bones of the lower back.
  • Kyphoplasty: Kyphoplasty is a type of minimally invasive procedure used to treat compression fractures of the spine. Often caused by aging or osteoporosis, these issues can cause a vertebra to collapse, resulting in a stooped posture and back pain. During the kyphoplasty procedure, a thin tube is inserted through a small incision in the back. At the tip of this tube is a balloon. Once the balloon is in place, it is inflated to force a damaged vertebral body into a more normal position and shape. A special medical cement is then used to help the vertebra maintain that shape.
  • Minimally invasive scoliosis correction: Scoliosis is a condition characterized by having an abnormal curve to the spine. Minimally invasive scoliosis correction treats spinal curvature by using less-invasive techniques to insert and attach rods and screws that can gradually correct the abnormal curvature of the spine.
Minimally invasive surgical techniques used at Hoag may include:
  • Robotic-assisted spinal surgery: Robotic-assisted surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery in which a robotic system assists the surgeon performing the procedure. During a robotic surgery procedure, a surgeon precisely controls robotic arms fitted with small surgical instruments. These instruments are inserted into the body through small incisions, then viewed on a high-definition display outside the body to complete the surgery. Hoag was the first hospital on the west coast to offer the most advanced minimally invasive robotic navigation platform available for spine surgery called Mazor X Stealth™. Additionally, Hoag has been designated a Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery (COERS) by the Surgical Review Corporation, signifying exceptional expertise in robotic surgeries and the highest standards for safety, outcomes and patient care. 
  • Tubular retractor surgery: Another minimally invasive spine surgery technique is performing surgery using specialized instruments called tubular retractors. A tubular retractor is made up of expandable tubes that separate the muscles of the back and move them out of the way until a damaged portion of the spine can be accessed. The procedure is then performed with small instruments through the tubular retractor.
  • Endoscopic Surgery: This procedure utilizes an endoscope — a thin, flexible tube with a lighted camera at the tip — to assess spinal issues, damage or disease. By passing the endoscope through small incisions in the torso, surgeons can remove spinal tumors, collect tissue samples for biopsy and other issues.

Which Conditions Can Be Treated With Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Depending on your age, the symptoms you are experiencing, your overall health and other factors, minimally invasive spinal surgery may or may not be a good option for you. That’s why it’s important to have your condition and symptoms evaluated by a physician or a neurosurgeon who understands the challenges involved with these techniques.

That said, for patients who are good candidates for minimally invasive back surgery, these techniques can successfully treat a wide range of spinal conditions. These include:

  • Herniated discs
  • Sciatica, which is a pain in the sciatic nerve, usually causing pain in the buttocks and leg pain
  • Spine fractures
  • Disc degeneration, also called degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolisthesis, a condition characterized by spinal instability
  • Back pain, also called lumbar pain
  • Cervical or spinal stenosis, caused by abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal
  • Neck pain, also called cervical pain
  • Scoliosis, which is an abnormal curvature of the spin
  • Congenital spinal deformities present at birth

What are the Benefits of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

When compared to traditional “open” spinal surgery, minimally invasive approaches for the spine offer patients a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Less scarring: Depending on the condition being treated, traditional spinal surgery can result in long scars on the back or torso which may be very visible while undressed or wearing a bathing suit. Because the incisions utilized in minimally invasive spine surgery are smaller — about an inch long or less — any resulting scars will likely be much less noticeable.
  • Less postoperative pain: A portion of the painful symptoms many patients feel after traditional surgical treatment may be due to the incision that often must be made through the skin and underlying tissues to access the spine. Because minimally invasive spine surgery utilizes much smaller incisions, postoperative pain is often greatly reduced.
  • Shorter hospital stays: Most people who have minimally invasive spine surgery can go home the same day or the next day.
  • Faster recovery time: Because less-invasive techniques cause less damage and disruption to the tissues, patients usually recover more quickly than those who’ve had traditional surgery, letting them get back to their daily activities sooner.
  • Reduced risk of complications: minimally invasive spine surgery is associated with a lower risk of infection, bleeding and other complications.

Find a Spine Specialist in Orange County Today, at Hoag.

The multidisciplinary team of experts at the Hoag Spine Institute are united in one goal: helping patients who need relief from back and neck  pain in Orange County find the diagnosis and treatment options they need to stop hurting and get back to living.

We accomplish that goal in several ways. But for those whose symptoms don’t respond to more conservative approaches like physical therapy, minimally invasive surgery may be a good option. Our comprehensive team is dedicated to finding and delivering the latest less-invasive surgical techniques, helping patients avoid the pain, muscle damage, blood loss and longer recovery time of traditional open surgery for the spine. 

Do you need spinal care in Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Irvine, La Hambra, Anaheim or any other community across Orange County? Then you owe it to yourself to seek out the team that treats every patient with the care and respect they deserve. So don’t wait. Contact the Hoag Spine Institute today for a surgical consultation or second opinion, by calling 949-764-1411 or through our online form.