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Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Fewer Complications, Shorter Stay in Hospital, and Faster Recovery Times

Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS)

In 1988, Dr. J. Barry McKernan, after making only a 10mm incision, inserted a laparoscope (or miniature camera) into a patient’s abdomen and removed a gall bladder. The patient recovered in days, rather than weeks or months. This was the first minimally invasive procedure performed in the U.S., and the beginning of the minimally invasive movement in surgery worldwide.

Since then, minimally invasive procedures have been changing the way physicans, surgeons and patients think about surgery. While many factors go into making the right decision, patients who choose minimally invasive procedures over conventional surgery usually have shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery times. This means a shorter stay in the hospital, and getting back sooner to their normal lives.

How Minimally Invasive Procedures Work

Minimally invasive procedures, which include endoscopy and laparoscopic surgery, use state-of-the-art technology to reduce the damage to human tissue when performing surgery. For example, the surgeon may make several small ¾ inch incisions and insert thin tubes called trocars. Carbon dioxide gas may be used to inflate the area, creating a space between the internal organs and the skin. Then a miniature camera (usually a laparoscope or endoscope) is placed through one of the trocars so the surgical team can view the procedure magnified on video monitors in the operating room or observation room. Then, specialized instruments are placed through the other trocars to perform the procedures.

Did you know?  Neck and low back pain are staggeringly expensive:

$50 Billion
annual cost of neck and back pain in the United States

of the U.S. adult population visit a physician each year because of back pain

52.3 million
physician visits per year

Back pain is the fifth leading cause of hospital admission and the third most common reason for surgery. These rates will grow as the population ages, and this is a global problem – the United States represents less than a third of the market.

Minimally Invasive Procedures Offer Multiple Benefits

Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) is rapidly expanding as the goal is to minimize the size of the incision and tissue manipulation, and promote shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times.

  • Less damage to skin and muscle
  • Less major bleeding
  • Fewer post-operative infections
  • Fewer complications
  • Shorter length of stay in the hospital
  • Easier recovery
  • Quicker return to normal activities
  • Quicker return to work
  • Less scarring
  • Comparable or lower cost


The results of MIS have been astounding. Average surgical time is shorter. Length of stay in hospital is shorter. Anesthesia time is lower. VAS scores are lower (measure of pain). EBL (Estimated Blood Loss) is lower. And direct hospital costs are lower.