If you’ve been suffering from back pain for a long time, you’re likely about ready to try anything to ease your pain. Medications can help to ease your health symptoms, but they don’t fix the problem and your body tends to adapt to them, making you have to up your dosages or switch medications a lot. Beyond the frustration and tediousness that being on medications for a long time can cause, you want to feel better, on the whole, not just take something when you aren’t feeling your best and hope it helps. At the same time, you don’t want to undergo some invasive and serious spinal surgery, risking who knows what all to try and ease your pain. This is where the new, minimally invasive endoscopic spine procedures come in. Through this article, we’ll explain what these treatments are and some of the benefits with which they can provide you.
What is Endoscopic Spine Surgery?
An endoscopic spine surgery is a surgery performed using an endoscope and micro incisions to allow for optimal visualization and minimal invasiveness during the procedure. These types of surgeries allow patients to enjoy a quick recovery time, getting them back to work much sooner, and minimal pain compared to traditional spinal surgeries. This type of surgery allows for you to maintain normal mobility due to the lack of fusion with rods or screws. These procedures are typically done as outpatient procedures, taking an hour or less to complete the actual surgery and allowing you to be up and walking again within two to three hours after the procedure is complete. This surgery can be a great permanent solution to your back pain without too high of a risk.
What Advantages Do These Procedures Offer?
Those who choose endoscopic spine surgeries over traditional spine surgeries experience minimal trauma as the surrounding muscles, tendons, tissues, and ligaments need not be disturbed in the process of the surgery. There are much less pain and a much shorter recovery period involved in these procedures as opposed to traditional back surgeries. These procedures also require far less anesthesia and surgeons may even opt for sub analgesic sedation, which allows the patient to be conscious during the procedure. By utilizing an endoscope in these procedures, surgeons are able to ensure precision despite using the smallest possible incision.
What are the Four Types of Endoscopic Spine Surgery?
There are four different types of endoscopic spine surgeries that all treat different conditions and utilize slightly different techniques and focuses. In this section, we’ll provide you with a brief overview of each type of endoscopic spine surgery offered.
- Endoscopic Discectomy: This procedure removes the herniated disc material that causes pain in the lumbar region, the cervical region (neck and arms), and the thoracic region. This procedure, unlike traditional procedures, doesn’t require the surgeon to remove any bones or muscles in order to remove herniated discs. It takes approximately thirty minutes and patients can go within thirty minutes after that. It’s designed to treat disc bulge, herniated disc, disc tear, among other things.
- Endoscopic Foraminotomy: This surgery relieves pressure to the spinal nerve roots that were caused by bone spurs creating compression, disc herniation, more ligaments than necessary, or scar tissue. The purpose of this surgery is to enlarge and/or open the spinal nerve root canal that had been narrowed so that nerves can have room to move around without compression. This surgery is typically offered to patients with arm and leg pain and allows for symptoms to disappear immediately. It’s designed to treat arthritis of the spine, sciatica, spinal stenosis, spinal slippage, and more.
- Endoscopic Facet Rhizotomy: This procedure deadens the affected nerves that cause chronic neck and back pain. This surgery doesn’t damage surrounding soft tissue or muscles due to the assistance of X-ray imaging. It’s designed to treat chronic lower back pain, failed back surgery syndrome, whiplash syndrome, and much more.
- Endoscopic Lumbar Laminotomy: This is the least invasive surgery that has the most effective results for those suffering spinal stenosis. During the procedure, surgeons remove part of the lamina, bone spurs, fatty ligaments, and/or herniated disc materials, allowing your nerves to be relieved from the pressure, giving them more space within the spinal column. This surgery can treat spinal stenosis, herniated discs, bone spurs, and facet joint disease.
Endoscopic spine surgeries can help to greatly improve your quality of life by making your chronic back pain a thing of the past in a minimally invasive way. These procedures are tremendously successful, require short recovery times and minimal pain, and, unlike medications, truly fix the problem, rather than just treating the symptoms.