Endoscopic Spine Surgery
What is it?
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. The approach is made through the back, chest or abdomen, to gain access to the spine to perform the surgery.
How is the surgery performed?
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 the doctor see what is going on. During your procedure, fluoroscopes (x-ray machines) are used to provide the best views of your spine. The endoscope is inserted through a small cut and guides it to the affected area. Your doctor uses x-ray and the camera to find the fragment and special instruments to remove the fragment. The incisions are closed with sutures and covered with surgical tape.
What are the preparations done prior to the procedure?
Before the procedure, your surgeon may advise you to stop smoking and to exercise regularly to improve your recovery rate. Any non-essential medications or herbal medications that increase surgical risk should be discontinued before surgery. Before your surgery, you can ask your surgeon any questions you may have.
What are the steps taken for post-operative care?
With endoscopic spine surgery, most patients usually return home within two days after surgery. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy is given 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.
What does the surgery do?
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.
Endoscopic spine surgery is used to treat a variety of spinal disorders and conditions, including
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated discs
- Scoliosis or other spinal deformities
- Spinal fractures
- Spinal infections
- Spinal tumours
What are the advantages 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 post-operative pain
- Reduces the risk of infection
- Improves function
What are the associated risks?
Like any type of surgery, there are certain risks associated with endoscopic spine surgery, such as:
- Reaction to anaesthesia
- Blood clots
- Blood loss
- Nerve injury
- Need for additional surgeries
- Instruments can break, dislodge or irritate the soft tissues