What is minimally invasive spine surgery?

Minimally invasive spine surgery is an approach in which special surgical instruments are used to see inside the body and perform surgery without the need for a large incision. With minimally invasive spine surgery techniques, a surgery can be performed through small, strategically placed incisions that require minimal impact on tissue.

The increase in minimally invasive spine surgery techniques has been made possible by advances in lasers, endoscopy (en-dos-co-pee), and image guidance systems. Although there are risks associated with any type of surgery, including minimally invasive spine surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery offers several advantages over traditional open surgery approaches, including:

The advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery include:

  • Less muscle injury
  • Less blood loss
  • Less post-operative pain
  • Less faster rehabilitation
  • Smaller scar
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Faster return to daily activities

What conditions can be treated with minimally invasive techniques?

Not all types of spine surgery can be performed using a minimally invasive technique, and minimally invasive spine surgery is not recommended for everyone. If your doctor has recommended spine surgery, ask whether minimally invasive spine surgery may be right for you.

Like all surgeries, minimally invasive procedures have some risks. When surgery is done near the spine and spinal cord, these complications can be serious and cause additional pain and impairment. It's important to discuss potential complications with your doctor before surgery.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery at The Polyclinic

At The Polyclinic your minimally invasive procedure will be led by a board certified orthopedic spine surgeon. We provide the latest in intraoperative imaging technology, state of the art facilities and minimally invasive spine and back surgery.

Certain minimally invasive spinal procedures,including lumbar microdiscectomy and kyphoplasty, can be performed at the First Hill Surgery Center (FHSC), our state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery center.

A few hours after surgery, patients are discharged to recover in their own home with a caregiver. Patients avoid an overnight hospital stay, which can reduce the risk of complications including infection. FHSC is specifically designed to accommodate certain spine surgeries, and it has lower overall facility fees, which means lower out-of-pocket costs compared with a typical hospital. The ideal candidate for outpatient surgery:

  • Has no other medical condition(s)
  • Is of normal weight
  • Has sufficient caregiver support at home
  • Has a realistic expectation of some pain and discomfort despite reasonable pain-relief strategies

Talk to your doctor to find out if outpatient spine surgery is right for you.

Sean Keem, MD, with more than 17 years of spine surgery experience, works closely with onsite neurologists, pain management experts and physical therapists to ensure your quick and complete recovery.

Contact Us

Contact the Spine Program at 206-860-5383 to make an appointment or for more information.