Minimally Invasive Surgery

What is minimally invasive spine surgery?

Using traditional methods, accessing the spine requires long and
deep cuts through muscle that can mean long scars and an even longer
recovery time. Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery uses new techniques
and tools that allow surgeons to work through a much smaller

One of the most popular methods of minimally invasive surgery used today
involves the use of tubular dilators. These special tools spread the
muscle apart to widen an incision without long, deep cuts. This method
of stretching the muscles instead of cutting through it can mean less scarring and a much shorter healing time for the patient.

Image Guided

Just like you might use GPS in your car to find the best way to your destination, your surgeon uses image guidance technology to help navigate during your surgery. Only instead of a road map, your surgeon uses real-time images of your spine to help guide navigation.

Sophisticated imaging tools are used to accomplish this, including a computer with a special screen that displays a virtual image of the spine and instruments. These special instruments are designed for navigation and minimally invasive surgery. An intraoperative scanner obtains real-time images of the spine to help guide navigation. Your surgeon utilizes specially designed minimally invasive surgery instruments by Integra Spine and a special O-arm1 scanner displays images of your spine from all angles.

This technology allows the observation of screw placement and trajectory while operating, ensuring the safest surgery performed through the smallest incision possible. This means instrument placement is much more precise, which decreases the chance for non-union or failure to fuse. Image guided minimally invasive spine surgery is one of the safest techniques for doctors performing minimally invasive spine surgery.

1O-arm and StealthStation are both trademarks of Medtronic.


Minimally invasive spine surgery has many benefits. These may include a shorter hospital stay after the procedure, but only your doctor can determine when you are ready to return home. In addition, there may be less pain, blood loss, and muscle damage compared to traditional spine surgery. Patients may also experience a relatively short healing time. Most patients require less pain medications and time off from work and other activities, so returning to normal activities may be easier.


Every spine is unique, so not everyone is eligible for minimally invasive spine surgery. Only your surgeon can determine if you are a good candidate. To ensure your safety and the effectiveness of your treatment, traditional spinal surgery may be preferred if you do not meet the right conditions for minimally invasive spine surgery.