Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Many spine conditions once requiring major surgery may now be relieved with minimally invasive techniques at the Cedars-Sinai Spine Center.

Compared to traditional surgery, minimally invasive procedures typically result in less pain and blood loss, as well as shorter recovery time, hospitalization and recuperation. Minimally invasive approaches are attractive to those who want to resume their normal routines quickly. They also make surgical intervention possible for many older patients and those previously considered poor candidates for surgery.

The minimally invasive spine surgery specialists at Cedars-Sinai adopt new technologies as they become available and participate in the creation of innovative new tools and procedures.

Minimally invasive procedures are available for the treatment of a wide range of conditions, including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, kyphosis, tumors and injuries to the spinal column.

Minimally Invasive Spinal Fusion

Recently introduced technologies enable surgeons to perform minimally invasive multi-level spinal fusions, taking a lateral approach (from the patient's side) to access the front of the spine. Surgeons work through narrow tunnels and tubes to clear debris from damaged discs and begin the rebuilding process. Cages (PEEK spacers) filled with bone morphogenic protein (BMP2) are put in place to correct the spinal architecture and stimulate fusion.

Scoliosis Correction

For adult scoliosis correction and other procedures that require the placement of hardware, newly developed rods and screws are inserted through small incisions using guidance systems for safety and accuracy.

By combining technological advances and performing procedures in stages, minimally invasive surgeons are able to achieve the same repairs and reconstructions that once required long incisions and extended periods of recuperation.

Kyphoplasty for Compression Fractures

Minimally invasive kyphoplasty gives patients an alternative to invasive surgery or conservative therapies in the treatment of compression fractures of the spine. These fractures, a common consequence of aging and osteoporosis, often cause patients to lose height and develop a stooped posture, leading to intense back pain and other symptoms. Without treatment, patients are at increased risk for developing serious and potentially fatal medical conditions.

Using a balloon to raise a collapsed vertebra, the procedure reclaims most of the natural space between the bones to restore height, and an injection of orthopaedic cement into the cavity stabilizes the fracture. Most patients undergoing kyphoplasty report pain relief within the first 24 hours.

Quicker Return to Normal Activity

Blood transfusions are rarely needed in minimally invasive procedures. Patients usually leave the recovery room quickly, returning to a regular surgical nursing unit shortly after surgery.

Hospital stays of up to two weeks for traditional surgery often are reduced to a couple of days. Patients can often resume many non-strenuous activities in days or weeks. Because patients experience only minimal pain and are eager to become active again, they often have to be reminded that their bodies still need time to heal.

A Multidisciplinary Team

Cedars-Sinai minimally invasive spine surgery specialists are part of a multidisciplinary team that evaluates each patient to help determine the most appropriate intervention. Surgery is recommended only after more conservative medical approaches have failed to provide adequate results for patients seeking pain relief, increased mobility and improved quality of life.

Specialists include:

  • Conservative care specialists
  • Diagnostic imaging staff
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Nurses
  • Orthopaedic surgeons
  • Pain management physicians
  • Physical therapists
  • Therapeutic and diagnostic block physicians and technicians
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