What is Endoscopic Spine Surgery?
Endoscopic spine surgery is a minimally invasive spine surgery that uses specialized video cameras and instruments to remove the herniated disc through very small incisions.
Indications of Endoscopic Spine Surgery
Endoscopic spine surgery is considered as a last resort for treating spinal conditions in the neck and back when conservative treatments have failed to improve your symptoms. It is considered to treat various spinal disorders and conditions, including:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated discs
- Scoliosis or other spinal deformities
- Spinal fractures
- Spinal infections
- Spinal tumors
Pre-procedure Preparation for Endoscopic Spine Surgery
Before the procedure, your surgeon may advise you to stop smoking and to exercise regularly to improve your recovery rate. Any non-essential or herbal medications that increase surgical risk should be discontinued before surgery. Before your surgery, you can ask your surgeon any questions that you may have.
Endoscopic Spine Surgery Procedure
Endoscopic spine procedures are performed using a tool called an endoscope, a thin tube with a tiny video camera on the end of it. The camera displays the images of the inside of the body onto the television screens, helping your doctor view the operating site. During the procedure, fluoroscopes (X-ray machines) are used to provide the best views of your spine. The endoscope is inserted through a small cut and guided to the affected area. The approach is through your back, chest or abdomen to gain access to the spine. Your doctor uses X-ray and the camera to find the fragments, and special instruments to remove the fragments. The incisions are closed with sutures and covered with surgical tape.
With endoscopic spine surgery, you will usually return home within two days after surgery. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy are recommended to mobilize the spine and loosen the muscles. To avoid strain injury, you may be instructed to avoid bending, lifting and twisting for the first 2 to 4 weeks.
Benefits of Endoscopic Spine Surgery
Traditional open surgery typically requires a larger incision, muscle stripping, longer hospitalization and increased recovery time. The advantages of endoscopic procedures when compared to the traditional procedures include the following:
- Small incision and minimal scar tissue formation
- Less blood loss
- Less damage to the surrounding tissues
- Faster recovery
- Quick return to normal activities
- Decreased hospital stay
- Less postoperative pain
- Reduced risk of infection
- Improved function
Risks and Complications of Endoscopic Spine Surgery
Like any type of surgery, there are certain risks associated with endoscopic spine surgery, such as:
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Blood clots
- Blood loss
- Nerve injury
- Need for additional surgeries
- Breakage or dislodgement of instruments or irritation the soft tissues