If you have tried conservative treatment options for your chronic back pain without relief, your doctor may recommend that you undergo surgery. You may want to find out if you are a good candidate for a minimally invasive back surgery procedure such as laser spine surgery or endoscopically assisted surgery at Spine Institute Northwest. These types of surgical procedures provide faster recovery times than do traditional open back surgical procedures.
How to prepare for minimally invasive back surgery
You should talk to your doctor about how to prepare for your laser spine surgery or other minimally invasive procedure such as a cervical decompression. There are several things that you should generally do when you have a minimally invasive procedure scheduled for your back or neck. Follow the advice that you are given by the medical team at Spine Institute Northwest. It’s important that you listen to everything that they tell you.
Here are some general items to keep in mind:
- Stop smoking several weeks in advance of your cervical decompression or other procedure.
- Exercise regularly to the extent that you are able.
- Avoid taking any medications or other supplements that your doctor has told you to avoid.
- Make adjustments to aid you in your recovery.
If you will be spending time at home recovering, make certain that you make adjustments to make it more comfortable ahead of time.
What to expect during the procedure
Your surgery will be completed by your orthopedic doctor along with a trained team of medical professionals. The details of what might happen will depend on the area of your spine that will be treated. Your doctor will be able to explain what will happen during your specific surgery. Here is some general information about what might happen during your procedure.
Your doctor may use an anesthetic to numb a portion of your body, and you may also be sedated. This will allow you to relax while remaining awake during your procedure. Your doctor may instead administer a general anesthetic depending on your specific surgery. If you are placed under general anesthesia, you will sleep through your procedure. Your health care team will monitor your vital signs during the surgery. You may also be administered antibiotics prior to and after your procedure to help to prevent infections.
To assist him or her during your surgery, your doctor will use a specialized type of x-ray to view what he or she is doing. He or she will then make a small incision in the area of your back that requires treatment. Then, he or she will place a tubular retractor into it, exposing the portion of your spine that will be treated. Through the retractor, your doctor will then be able to use the small tools, including a light and a tiny camera, to make the needed repairs. When your procedure is finished, your doctor will then remove all of the tools and the retractor, closing your incision using staples, glue or stitches and then covering it with a small bandage.
How long will the procedure take?
Many people are able to get minimally invasive spine surgery on an outpatient basis, meaning you may be able to go home the same day as your surgery. You may need to remain at the surgery center for a few hours after your procedure is finished so that you can be monitored for any problems. When you are allowed to go home, you will need to have someone there to drive you. Most procedures only take between one and two hours.
How soon before you will notice improvements following the surgery?
You will likely feel some pain following your surgery. It can be alleviated by taking some pain medication. This pain should recede fairly quickly. Some patients are able to return to work after only a week or so. You should notice improvements gradually over a period that lasts up to four or six weeks.
To learn more about whether or not you are a good candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery, it is important for you to talk to the orthopedic specialists at Spine Institute Northwest. Call us today at (206) 496-0630 to schedule a consultation.