Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) involves the use of advanced surgical techniques and technology to treat spinal conditions with smaller incisions, less tissue disruption, and a quicker recovery compared to traditional open surgery. MISS is used to treat a variety of spinal disorders, including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease.


  1. Preparation

    • Anesthesia: The patient receives general or regional anesthesia to ensure comfort during the procedure.
    • Positioning: Depending on the surgical site, the patient is positioned to allow optimal access to the spine.
  2. Surgical Techniques

    • Small Incisions: Instead of a large incision, the surgeon makes one or more small incisions, typically less than one inch long.
    • Use of Tubular Retractors: These devices gently separate muscles and tissues, creating a tunnel to the spine. This approach minimizes muscle damage.
    • Advanced Imaging: Real-time imaging, such as fluoroscopy or intraoperative CT scans, guides the surgeon during the procedure.
    • Microscopic Assistance: An operating microscope or endoscope provides a magnified view of the surgical area, allowing for precise and accurate movements.
  3. Specific Procedures

    • Microdiscectomy: Removal of a portion of a herniated disc to relieve nerve pressure.
    • Laminectomy: Removal of a small portion of bone or ligament to alleviate spinal stenosis.
    • Spinal Fusion: Joining two or more vertebrae to stabilize the spine, often using minimally invasive techniques and small instruments.


  • Immediate Post-Op: Patients are monitored in a recovery room and can often go home the same day or after an overnight stay.
  • Short-Term Recovery: Initial pain and discomfort are managed with medication. Patients are encouraged to start walking and performing light activities soon after surgery.
  • Physical Therapy: A tailored physical therapy program helps in regaining strength, flexibility, and range of motion.
  • Return to Normal Activities: Most patients can resume daily activities within a few weeks, with complete recovery taking a few months.


  • Smaller Incisions: Less tissue damage and scarring compared to traditional open surgery.
  • Reduced Pain: Less postoperative pain and a quicker return to normal activities.
  • Shorter Hospital Stay: Many MISS procedures are performed on an outpatient basis or require only a short hospital stay.
  • Faster Recovery: Quicker return to work and daily activities due to minimal tissue disruption.

Risks and Considerations

  • Infection: As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection, which can be minimized with proper postoperative care.
  • Nerve Damage: Although rare, there is a small risk of nerve injury.
  • Technical Challenges: MISS requires specialized training and experience, as the surgeon works within a limited view and space.

Minimally invasive spine surgery offers a modern approach to treating spinal conditions with the advantages of reduced pain, faster recovery, and smaller scars, making it a preferred choice for many patients and surgeons alike.