A man rubbing his neck in pain

Unraveling The Success Rate Of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery: A Comprehensive Overview

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) as a treatment option for various spinal conditions.

Patients and physicians alike are drawn to the potential benefits of reduced surgical morbidity, faster recovery, and lower complication rates.

In this article, we will explore the minimally invasive spine surgery success rate across various spinal conditions to help patients and healthcare providers make informed decisions.

Cervical Spine.

The cervical spine is a complex region with a range of conditions that can be treated using minimally invasive techniques. Here, we delve into the success rates of MISS in both posterior and anterior cervical approaches.

Posterior cervical approach success rate

  • Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM): MISS techniques like posterior cervical laminectomy have been shown to yield favorable clinical outcomes, including improved neurological function and reduced pain. Studies report a success rate of over 90% with minimal complications.

  • Posterior percutaneous endoscopic cervical foraminotomy and discectomy (P-PECD): These procedures are employed to address nerve compression due to herniated discs or bone spurs. Recent studies have reported success rates of 80% to 90% for pain relief and functional improvement with low complication rates.

Anterior cervical approach success rate

  • Anterior percutaneous endoscopic cervical discectomy (A-PECD): This MISS technique involves removing herniated discs or bone spurs from the front of the cervical spine. With reported success rates of 85% to 95% in terms of pain relief and functional improvement, A-PECD is considered a viable alternative to traditional open surgery.

  • Transcorporeal A-PECD: This variation of A-PECD involves creating a small channel in the vertebral body to access and remove the herniated disc. While the procedure is relatively new, early results indicate a success rate of around 90% with minimal complications.

Thoracic Spine.

Minimally invasive techniques have also been applied to treat thoracic spine conditions, such as disc herniation and stenosis. Here, we explore the success rate of MISS in the thoracic spine.

  • Minimally invasive thoracic discectomy: Stereotactic navigation has played a significant role in improving the outcomes of thoracic discectomy. Studies have reported success rates of up to 90% for pain relief and functional improvement, with minimal complications.

  • Full-endoscopic decompression: This technique is used to treat thoracic disc herniation and stenosis. Early studies report success rates of around 80% to 90%, with the added benefit of reduced blood loss and shorter hospital stays.
A doctor showing a patient an x-ray image of her spine

Lumbo-sacral spine.

The lumbo-sacral spine is a common site for degenerative conditions, and MISS has become an increasingly popular treatment option. Let’s take a look at the success rates of endoscopic decompression procedures and lateral approaches for interbody fusion in the lumbo-sacral spine.

Endoscopic decompression procedures success rate

  • Percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy (PELD): As a minimally invasive alternative to traditional open surgery, PELD has demonstrated success rates of 80% to 90% in terms of pain relief and functional improvement.

  • Transforaminal (PELD-T) and interlaminar (PELD-I) approaches: Both PELD-T and PELD-I have shown promising results, with success rates ranging from 80% to 90% for pain relief and functional improvement. Additionally, these approaches have been associated with reduced blood loss, shorter hospital stays, and faster recovery.

Lateral approaches for interbody fusion success rate

  • Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF): LLIF is a minimally invasive fusion technique that allows for the treatment of various spinal disorders, including degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, and spinal stenosis. Studies have reported success rates of up to 90% in terms of pain relief, functional improvement, and fusion rates, with lower complication rates compared to traditional open surgery.

  • Oblique lumbar interbody fusion (OLIF): OLIF is another lateral approach that provides a less invasive alternative to anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) or posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF). With success rates ranging from 80% to 90%, OLIF has been shown to be an effective treatment option for various lumbo-sacral spine conditions.
A doctor pointing to a skeleton model

MISS for obese patients.

Obesity is a significant risk factor for poor outcomes in spinal surgery. However, studies have shown that MISS techniques can be safely and effectively employed in obese patients, leading to improved outcomes compared to traditional open surgery.

  • PELD in obese patients: One study reported a success rate of 88.9% in terms of pain relief and functional improvement for obese patients undergoing PELD, with reduced complications and shorter hospital stays compared to open surgery.

  • LLIF in obese patients: A study comparing the outcomes of obese and non-obese patients undergoing LLIF found no significant differences in success rates or complication rates between the two groups. This suggests that LLIF can be a viable option for obese patients, with success rates comparable to those of non-obese patients.

Revision surgery.

Minimally invasive techniques can also be applied in revision surgeries, offering the advantage of avoiding scar tissue dissection that may be encountered during traditional open revision surgeries.

  • Revision MIS tubular discectomy: A retrospective series of patients who underwent revision MIS tubular discectomy reported good clinical outcomes and no complications. The success rate of this approach highlights the potential advantages of using MISS techniques in revision surgeries.

  • Revision decompression and primary fusion: A study evaluating the outcomes of revision decompression accompanied by primary fusion found that the success rate was equivalent to that of primary fusion alone. This suggests that MISS techniques can be successfully employed in revision surgeries without compromising clinical outcomes.

In conclusion

Minimally invasive spine surgery has demonstrated promising success rates across a wide range of spinal conditions and patient populations.

The growing body of literature on this topic supports the feasibility, efficacy, safety, and value of MISS techniques compared to traditional approaches.

As advancements in imaging and navigation technologies continue to evolve, we can expect the success rate of minimally invasive spine surgery to further improve, broadening its applicability and accessibility to an even larger patient population.