Spinal surgeons are increasingly choosing to perform minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) on patients who need operations to relieve back pain. These operations are less risky to the patient and come with faster recovery times because of the small incision and finesse of the operating tools.
However, there are still several myths and misconceptions surrounding MISS that prevent some patients from seeking out this valuable option. A qualified spinal surgeon like Dr. Lanman has successfully helped patients through the use of MISS so they can regain their mobility and reduce their pain. He regularly performs a variety of minimally invasive spine surgery techniques, including:
If you live with back pain, MISS might be a good treatment option for your needs. It’s time to dispel a few of the most common myths related to this operation so you can make sound and informed decisions about your health.
The first myth to bust is the idea that MISS is less effective than spinal fusion or other forms of surgery. However, just because the surgery is less invasive does not make it any more comprehensive. Dr. Lanman, or the surgeon of your choice, is able to access your spine, address the issue, and insert any prosthetic discs that you may need. This myth is kind of like saying an iPhone is less effective than a rotary phone because it is smaller. The reality is this operation is more advanced and made possible through scientific innovations.
According to a publication in the National Library of Medicine, “endoscopic microdiscectomies have been shown to be equivalent to open microdiscectomies,” (traditional spinal surgery) according to a study that included more than 10,200 patients. Not only are the success rates just as high, but patient satisfaction is also high with minimally invasive approaches because of the reduced recovery times and quality results.
The next myth to be busted is that MISS isn’t a good option if you have a major spinal condition and is instead preferred for minor issues. This simply isn’t true. MISS can be used to address almost any spinal condition just as effectively as a traditional operation. The only difference is how the surgeon accesses your spine. The use of guiding tools and microscopic cameras means your doctor doesn’t need to actively handle your spine.
Here are a few common issues that can be addressed through MISS:
The more a doctor practices MISS, the more confident they can feel taking on complex procedures with this method. This is why Dr. Lanman is uniquely qualified to handle your case. He has embraced MISS technology since its onset and has become one of the leading practitioners of this operating format.
Another common myth is that the recovery times for any type of spinal operation will take just as long. Even if the operating methods change, the patient is going through the same procedure and it will take time to recover.
While there is certainly a recovery period for MISS, it is notably faster than traditional spinal surgery recovery times. This starts in the medical center. MISS is often done within a surgery center, not in a hospital. It is an outpatient procedure and most patients return on the same day of the operation.
Once you are home, recovery is faster because the body went through less trauma. The incision is smaller, which means it can close faster, and there will be less tissue damage overall. This limits the amount of swelling and soreness you feel, while also reducing your risk of infection. With MISS, you should be able to resume most of your normal activities within six weeks.
Traditional spine surgery techniques are major operations with more risks and longer recovery timelines. However, modern technology allows doctors to complete the same procedures with newer, less invasive techniques.
Patients often worry that doctors will be operating blindly through MISS because they are using remote tools that enter your body. However, MISS actually gives your surgeon more visibility and control. One of the key elements of this operation is a high-definition microscopic camera that displays your spine on a large screen for the surgeon. This provides a better view than if your surgeon was a few inches from your spine itself. The smaller surgical instruments also allow for more precise movements, which makes this procedure more effective.
The complication rates for MISS procedures fall around 1.5% while the complication rates for traditional spinal procedures can range up to 33% depending on the studies you read. Patients who choose MISS can reduce their risk of complications and infection while enjoying better outcomes and long-term improved quality of life.
MISS also presents a lower risk to patients due to being able to use awake anesthesia. Nursing staff can make sure patients are safe throughout the entire procedure.
It is always different to talk about surgical costs because every patient has unique insurance policies and plans. However, in most cases, MISS is a less expensive option for patients. The cost of the operation doesn’t necessarily increase just because the surgeon’s technique changes. Instead, patients can save money by having a shorter operation, shorter stay in the medical center, and reduced post-operative care. Instead of paying to check into a hospital for multiple days, you can recover after a few hours at home and save on those costs.
MISS is often covered by Medicare or other types of insurance because it is considered a medically necessary operation to maintain your quality of life.
Several insurance providers frequently approve MISS because it is a medically necessary operation. This is often the final option for both patients and surgeons, who will initially recommend multiple non-invasive procedures. If your body does not respond to options like physical therapy and pain management, your doctor will decide whether you are a candidate for MISS.
More insurance providers are willing to approve coverage for MISS because it is less expensive than traditional operations. Your provider saves money while you get the operation you need. If you are still worried about coverage, talk to your doctor. They can help you use the right terminology and records to prove that your provider needs to cover this operation.
This myth about MISS is also completely untrue. The original idea is that because the operation is less invasive, doctors take longer to complete it. However, this isn’t true. Less invasive operations are typically shorter because there are fewer risks and complications to worry about.
For example, a smaller incision site allows doctors to focus on using the tools to complete your operation rather than managing any potential blood loss. Your doctor will also spend less time trying to get to your spinal column because they don’t need to move around muscle tissue with bulky tools. The technological improvements allow your doctor to easily access your spine with a small incision and minimal impact on your other muscle groups.
When the operation is complete, it is easier to close the incision and confirm that the procedure was successful. This takes less time so you can move on to the recovery process.
Shorter surgery times also mean you will have a shorter anesthesia exposure. This allows you to wake up faster and potentially experience fewer side effects as you recover.
The myths surrounding MISS could make almost any patient reconsider this operation. However, it’s important to remember that these misconceptions aren’t true. MISS is often covered by health insurance because it is less costly, less invasive, faster, and more effective. It is also a technique that can be applied to most spinal operations. In short, MISS is a form of technological progress that can change how patients experience spine surgery and improve their recovery times.
You do not have to live with back pain. Instead, you can work with a leading spinal neurosurgeon, like Dr. Lanman, who takes a patient-centric approach based on his own experience as both a spine surgeon and a surgery patient. Dr. Lanman has been through cervical and lumbar spinal operations himself and understands how painful the recovery process can be. That is why he strives to invest in the latest tools and takes a unique approach to spine health to create better experiences for patients.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Lanman to discuss your medical options and how to get the best possible outcome for your spine health and quality of life. Dr. Lanman has Beverly Hills and Palm Beach offices to meet with patients on both coasts. Request an appointment today.
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