Endoscopic spine surgery is a minimally invasive technique that allows treating various back injuries such as herniated disc or canal stenosis.
To carry out the surgery using this technique, an instrument called endoscope is inserted inside the spine, which incorporates a small high-definition camera that allows the surgeon to explore the spinal canal and perform the surgery with precision.
The difference compared to other surgical techniques to treat back injuries is that to introduce the endoscope into the spine, it is enough to make a small incision of less than 1 cm and it is not necessary to section any muscle. Instead, dilators are used that separate the muscles enough to insert the endoscope. To then access the interior of the spine, the surgeon uses one of the following accesses, depending on which one is more suitable for the case to be treated:
- Transforaminal access, which is the least invasive since it uses the same hole that already exists in the spine for the exit of the nerve roots, called foramen, to access the interior of the spine. To do this, a needle is inserted through said foramen and small dilators are used to increase its diameter so that the endoscope can pass through said hole. The simple act of widening the foramen is itself a decompression maneuver of the nerve.
- Interlaminar access, on the other hand, consists of supporting the endoscope on the lamina of the vertebra and then using a small drill to expand the space between the lamina and the ligament, being able to then introduce the endoscope inside the spine to perform the surgery. This form of access is more appropriate for treating central hernias, treating canal stenosis, and when it is necessary to access the L5-S1 intervertebral disc.
Regardless of the form of access used, once the endoscope is inside the spinal canal, the surgeon uses specific endoscopic tools for this surgery, thus performing it safely and effectively.
Advantages of endoscopic spine surgery
Compared to other techniques used to treat spinal injuries, such as open surgery or microdissectomy, the results of one or the other are generally similar, the difference being that by means of endoscopic spinal surgery, the aggression made to the tissues is minimal (very small incision less than 1 cm, with minimal damage to the muscle tissues), which entails multiple advantages:
- Recovery is much faster, leaving the hospital the same day of the intervention, and a total recovery time and return to work activity shorter than with other types of surgery.
- Postoperative pain is minimal, thus requiring less analgesic consumption during the postoperative period.
- Less bleeding, less risk of infections and less risk of complications.
- As the incision required is smaller, the scar is smaller and therefore also better the aesthetic result.
- Allows treating pathologies and/or spinal injuries both in the spinal canal and in the foraminal-extraforaminal.
How is endoscopic spine surgery performed?
The surgery consists of two phases:
- A first phase of preparation, which requires about 30 minutes, in which the patient is anesthetized (with general anesthesia), the patient is precisely placed in the prone position with pads on the thorax and pelvic region, and tilt in flexion of the lower extremities is established. As a final step in the preparation, anteroposterior and lateral X-ray views are used to identify the entry point through which to make the incision and introduce the endoscope.
- During the second phase, the endoscope is inserted through the incision and accessed to the point of the spine or spinal canal where it is necessary to intervene, and then surgery is carried out.
Once endoscopic spine surgery is finished, the patient spends a very short time admitted, receiving discharge the next day or even the same day of surgery. The pain that was caused by the treated back injury disappears immediately after surgery, although in some cases in which the nerves have been compressed for a long time or intensely, tingling (paresthesia) or corking (hypoesthesia) may occur, which gradually disappear after a few weeks.
Although it is possible to lead a normal life after discharge (without physical effort), full recovery from surgery takes one to two months, time after which the patient will be fully recovered and will be able to resume sports activity and return to work if it requires physical effort.
Treatment of back injuries by endoscopic surgery at Vithas Xanit Internacional
If you need a specialist in the treatment of back injuries, at Vithas Xanit Internacional we put at your disposal the best specialists, who through the use of the most recent minimally invasive techniques and the latest in surgical technology allow us to offer you the best possible results. Contact us for more information or make an appointment.