Open back surgery has historically been?the standard?to treat herniated discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, foraminal stenosis, and other back and neck problems. In recent years, however, endoscopic procedures have become an increasingly popular alternative to open surgeries.
Both open back surgery and endoscopic surgery are usually seen as the last resort for addressing back pain, neck pain, and related symptoms. First, doctors will typically try to treat most back pain and neck pain with more conservative approaches including bed rest, hot and cold packs, physical therapy, pain medication, and epidural steroid injections.
So what can someone expect from open back surgery, and what are the advantages of endoscopic surgery for the neck and back as an alternative?
For purposes of illustration, a typical timeline for open back surgery is as follows:
- The team of surgeons makes a relatively large incision to access the problematic area of the spine – this incision may be made on the back, neck, abdomen, or throat
- Surgeons possibly have to move organs and cut through tissue to reach the spine
- The surgeon carefully corrects the problem by hand and stitches the patient shut
- The patient is hospitalized for observation and is then is eventually discharged
- Recovery typically lasts several months and may require pain medication and a brace
- Relief may be immediate or incremental over time
Clearly this is major surgery, and the decision to have an open back procedure cannot be taken lightly.
Meanwhile, endoscopic surgery like an endoscopic discectomy provides patients with a minimally-invasive, outpatient alternative. Endoscopic surgeons are able to treat back and neck conditions through an incision about 5 millimeters long, which obviously reduces the risk of tissue damage, bleeding, infection, and scar tissue. Additionally, endoscopic spine procedures are significantly quicker than open back surgery and do not require hospitalization.
Before undergoing major open back surgery, contact the award-winning team at Laser Spine Institute (LSI) to learn more about the advantages of outpatient endoscopic spinal procedures and for a free review of your MRI or CT scan. Not only do our procedures carry less risk, they also have a higher success rate than traditional open back surgery. 87 percent of our patients say they experience partial or complete symptom relief within weeks of their procedure at LSI. An endoscopic procedure at LSI may be just the thing you need to get back on your feet and on with your life!