Endoscopic surgery for the spine is a revolutionary alternative to the open-back surgeries that have traditionally dominated the medical industry. The word endoscopy means “looking inside,” which is the basis of an endoscopic procedure. Where open-back surgery requires a large incision to give surgeons access to the spine, endoscopic spine surgery is conducted through an incision about 5 millimeters in length. Through this small incision, a series of tubes, a tiny camera (or “endoscope”), and micro-instruments are inserted, making endoscopic procedures much less invasive and risky than open-back surgery.
Other main advantages of endoscopic surgery are that the patient generally has a much shorter recovery time, less pain, less scarring, less blood loss, and less collateral damage to the neighboring soft tissue and bone than he or she would experience following a traditional open back surgery. In fact, endoscopic surgery for the neck and spine at Laser Spine Institute (LSI) is performed on an outpatient basis and almost all patients walk away from our facility within hours of their procedure.
Endoscopic surgery is not a new technology, but recent advances in medicine, particularly in laser science, has made it an extremely effective alternative to traditional neck and back surgery. At LSI, a field of award-winning surgeons regularly performs four primary endoscopic spine procedures:
- Foraminotomy – which relieves pressure on compressed nerves in the foramen, a passageway through which nerve roots exit the spinal canal
- Laminotomy – which relieves pressure by removing a portion of the lamina, a bony plate on each vertebra that protects the spinal cord
- Endoscopic Discectomy – which is the surgical removal of a portion of a herniated or bulging disc
- Facet Thermal Ablation – which is the surgical cleaning of the joint structures (facet joints) that connect the vertebrae in the back
Endoscopic surgery for the neck and spine can be used to treat a number of lingering issues including herniated or bulging discs, spinal stenosis, foraminal stenosis, bone spurs, and pinched nerves, but even minimally invasive surgery is not recommended until after conservative, non-surgical treatments have been exhausted.
Laser Spine Institute is the worldwide leader in endoscopic procedures for the neck and spine, and our qualified staff is available to further discuss your options. Contact LSI today to learn more about endoscopic surgery and for a free review of your MRI or CT scan.