Exploring the Types Of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Doctor and his patient having a conversation

In recent times, breakthroughs in medical technology have given rise to minimally invasive spine surgery. This innovative surgical method has transformed the way diverse spinal conditions are treated, presenting patients with a viable option other than conventional open surgery.

Throughout this article, we will delve into the various types of minimally invasive spine surgery and their advantages, offering essential information for individuals contemplating these procedures.

The benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery.

Minimally invasive spine surgery offers a range of advantages over traditional surgical methods:


  • Smaller incisions and less scarring: The small incisions used in minimally invasive surgery result in less visible scarring and a more aesthetically pleasing outcome.

  • Reduced blood loss: The precise techniques employed in minimally invasive procedures minimize blood loss during surgery.

  • Faster recovery and shorter hospital stay: Patients generally experience a quicker recovery and require less time in the hospital following minimally invasive spine surgery.

  • Less pain and trauma to surrounding tissues: The minimally invasive approach causes less disruption to surrounding muscles and tissues, leading to reduced postoperative pain and discomfort.

Types of minimally invasive spine surgery.

umbar Disc Microsurgery

Procedure overview:
Lumbar disc microsurgery involves the removal of a herniated disc in the lower back that is compressing nerves and causing sciatica. A spine surgeon creates a small incision directly over the herniated disc and uses a microscope to visualize the disc and the associated pinched nerve root.

The surgeon then gently moves the spinal nerve aside and removes only the herniated portion of the disc, preserving the rest of the structure.

Conditions treated:
This procedure is primarily used to treat herniated discs in the lumbar region causing sciatica.

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion

Procedure overview:
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is a form of minimally invasive neck surgery that involves removing a damaged disc to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots.

A spine surgeon creates a small incision in the front of the neck and accesses the spine through careful dissection. The surgeon then creates an incision in the outer layer of the disc to remove the soft, inner core.

After the disc is removed, a bone graft is placed in the disc space to prevent collapse, and eventually, bone growth fuses the upper and lower vertebrae together.

A small metal plate is affixed to the front of the bones to provide stability during the healing process.

Conditions treated:
This procedure is commonly used to treat cervical disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, and other neck-related conditions causing pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling.

Percutaneous Pedicle Screw Instrumentation

Procedure overview:
Percutaneous pedicle screw instrumentation is performed to provide stability and fusion when treating various spinal pathologies, such as trauma, tumors, deformities, degenerative diseases, and more.

This procedure is done under CT guidance for maximum accuracy. The surgeon creates a small incision at the level where the screw is to be placed, inserts cannulated needles into the center of the pedicle, and replaces the needles with a k-wire, a cannulated pedicle screw, and a rod to stabilize the area.

Conditions treated: This technique is used to address a wide range of spinal pathologies requiring stabilization and fusion.

YESS Disectomy

Procedure overview:
The YESS (Yield Enhanced Surgical System) discectomy is a new minimally invasive spine surgery that involves removing herniated disc material.

The surgeon inserts a guide wire to the affected disc under X-ray guidance, followed by a small tube and an endoscope, which is attached to a surgical light and camera. This allows spine specialists to visualize the surgical site without a lengthy incision.

Using tiny instruments, the surgeon removes the herniated or degenerative disc material, helping to decrease symptoms while ensuring spinal stability.

Conditions treated: This procedure is used to treat herniated and degenerative discs causing back and neck pain.

Minimally-Invasive Interbody Fusion

Procedure overview:
Minimally invasive interbody fusion is performed to treat degenerative disc disease and nerve compression. This fusion surgery involves joining two or more vertebrae with a bone graft, creating a stronger and more stable spine.

In most cases, screws and rods are also placed to maintain the spine’s new position and ensure a successful fusion. Unlike traditional open surgery, the minimally invasive approach involves inserting a small tube through the skin until it reaches the spine.

The entire procedure is done inside the tube using tiny surgical instruments, resulting in a smaller incision, less trauma, and a quicker recovery period.

Conditions treated: This technique is primarily used to treat degenerative disc disease, spinal instability, and nerve compression caused by various spinal disorders.

Endoscopic Spine Surgery

Procedure overview:
Endoscopic spine surgery is a minimally invasive technique that uses a small incision in the skin through which an endoscope is inserted.

The endoscope is attached to a camera, allowing the surgeon to visualize the surgical site without opening the back fully.

The procedure is completed inside a tube using tiny surgical tools, minimizing pain, blood loss, and recovery time.

Conditions treated: Endoscopic spine surgery can address a variety of spinal conditions, including bone spurs, bulging and herniated discs, facet joint disease, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, and scoliosis.

There are two more endoscopic procedures commonly performed:

  • Posterolateral Endoscopic Discectomy: A common endoscopic spinal surgery that removes herniated disc material causing back and neck pain. The procedure takes about 30 minutes, and patients can return home the same day to begin recovery.

  • Endoscopic Laminotomy: A minimally invasive alternative to traditional laminotomy that treats spinal stenosis. The surgeon inserts a fine needle under X-ray guidance, makes a small incision, and passes tubes and an endoscope into the back to remove bone, bone spurs, ligaments, and disc material compressing nerve roots, creating more space within the spinal column.
An elderly man smiling with from the hospital bed with his wife

Choosing the right minimally invasive spine surgery.

Factors to consider

  • Severity and location of the spinal condition
    Overall health and medical history
  • Patient’s lifestyle and activity levels

Consulting with a spine specialist
A consultation with a spine specialist is crucial in determining the most appropriate minimally invasive spine surgery for your specific condition. The specialist will conduct a thorough evaluation and recommend a personalized treatment plan.

Personalizing treatment to the patient’s specific condition
Each patient’s spinal condition is unique, and the most effective treatment will depend on their individual needs. Minimally invasive spine surgery types offer various options, allowing for tailored treatment plans that address the specific requirements of each patient.

Nurse putting on a surgical mask

In conclusion

The progress in minimally invasive spine surgery has dramatically transformed spinal care, offering patients efficient and less intrusive options compared to traditional open surgeries.

The assortment of minimally invasive spine surgery techniques discussed in this article provide numerous advantages, such as smaller incisions, decreased pain, expedited recovery, and reduced trauma to nearby tissues.

Nonetheless, it is crucial to consult a spine specialist to identify the most suitable procedure for your particular spinal issue. By thoughtfully evaluating the severity and location of your condition, your overall well-being, and your lifestyle, you and your specialist can devise a customized treatment plan that delivers the most favorable results.

In conclusion, minimally invasive spine surgery has introduced new opportunities for patients afflicted by spinal disorders. With a variety of choices at their disposal, patients can now experience an enhanced quality of life and swifter recovery periods, allowing them to resume their daily routines more quickly and with increased comfort.