What is the Difference Between Minimally Invasive or Appropriately Invasive Surgery Techniques?

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally Invasive Surgery or MIS is performed through one or more tiny incisions as opposed to one large opening. Endoscopic technology has been pioneered specifically for this purpose. While the benefits or MIS are of the same scale as traditional surgical techniques, recovery speed is greatly increased while the degree of pain and need for general anesthesia is decreased. Generally, minimally invasive surgery can be conducted within the convenience of an office. This is a technique that has developed in many surgical specialties over the last couple of decades. However, not all surgical problems can or should be done with these techniques.

There are limitations that these “minimal” techniques place on us as surgeons and spinal conditions can often be very complicated. In general the more complicated the problem, or the more complex the surgery. As a result, it is less likely that a limited approach with minimally invasive techniques will be appropriate

The promise of MIS is shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery with less pain. Unfortunately this has not been shown consistently with spinal surgery, unlike abdominal surgery where these techniques are now routine.

Appropriately Invasive Surgery

For these circumstances that require a more extensive approach, we use the term “appropriately invasive surgery.” Dr. Richardson’s approach is to make an incision that is no bigger than necessary to do everything that is required.

In some cases there will be smaller incisions while in others a larger or longer incision is unavoidable. Each patient’s spine problem is considered a unique situation that takes into consideration a number of factors including the age, weight, and any associated medical problems of the patient.