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Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

What is minimally invasive spine surgery?

Minimally invasive spine surgery is the same surgery that can be done with a traditional, open approach, but it is done through a smaller opening. It can be thought of as minimal access surgery, rather than minimal surgery. Minimally invasive spine surgery utilizes specially designed instruments to access the spine through small incisions, which means there is less muscle dissection, and less morbidity and trauma related to exposure.

How the procedure is performed will depend on the part of the spine being treated, but surgeons using a minimally invasive technique will typically make smaller incisions than standard open procedures, using a small camera attached to a small tube called an endoscope to view the area where the procedure is being performed. Minimally invasive surgery is only used when the same or better results can be achieved compared to open surgery.

In addition to smaller scars, proposed benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery include:

  • less pain and disruption to muscles surrounding the spine
  • a shorter hospital stay
  • a quicker recovery and return to normal activity
  • lower rates of infection
  • less blood loss
  • less narcotic use
  • lower costs as the result of this often being an outpatient procedure

When is minimally invasive spine surgery performed?

If more conservative treatment, such as medication and physical therapy, has not provided adequate relief, your surgeon may recommend surgery. A variety of conditions may be treated with minimally invasive spine surgery, including:

However, not all patients are candidates for minimally invasive surgery. Your surgeon can help you determine the best treatment approach for your condition. The surgeons at Rex Neurosurgery & Spine Specialists are experienced in diagnosing and treating spinal disorders and disease and trained in the newest, safest techniques for relieving pain and returning you to a more active lifestyle.

Dr. Grant Buttram is only surgeon in the area fellowship-trained in minimally invasive spine surgery and treats patients from across the country. He trained with leading spine surgeon Kevin Foley, M.D. at the Semmes-Murphey Neurologic & Spine Institute. Dr. Foley is considered by many to be the father of modern day minimally invasive spine surgery. He holds multiple patents for minimally invasive devices and is actively involved in research in minimally invasive spine surgery, disc regeneration, and spinal biomechanics.

What to expect

Before surgery, your surgeon will go over the procedure, anything you need to do to prepare, and what to expect during recovery. Every patient is different, but many minimally invasive surgical procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis. If a hospital stay is needed, it will generally be less than three days.


Our Patients

After breaking two vertebrae, Sarah was scared she would not be able to ride horses again. Thanks to the expertise of Dr. Buttram at REX Neurosurgery and Spine Specialists, she was back to riding in just a few short months.

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