A study funded by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurosurgery is providing new evidence to support the increased use of minimally invasive spine surgery for degenerative spine conditions. The group of neurosurgeons found that normal spinal anatomy remains intact when using a minimally invasive surgical approach to alleviate pain caused by degenerative spine conditions in the lumbar region.

“Our data showed that minimally invasive lumbar decompression preserves a patient’s normal anatomy, which is critical to long-term success,” stated author Zachary Smith, MD, professor in Neurological Surgery. “The evidence suggests that traditional open spine operations carry much more risk for further surgery, including fusion, down the road.”

The study also revealed that by using minimally invasive decompression, range of motion was increased, as were lateral bending and rotation. This is because the minimally invasive technique spreads muscle rather than destroying the tissue and preserves ligaments that run through the back of the spine. Without these structures, which traditional open and instrumented fusion spine surgery removes, much of the support for the spine is lost.

Similarly, the National Institute of Health has found that minimally invasive cervical spine surgery allows for neural decompression while maintaining motion. It states that “this technique has the advantage of maintenance of motion, but without the need for instrumentation. Therefore, the procedure is motion preserving, minimally invasive and cost-effective”.

Another study reported in the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques, which compared the success rate of traditional “open” instrumented fusion spine surgery to minimally invasive spine surgery, found an astounding 41% to 87% success rate, respectively. That means that minimally invasive spinal surgery is over two times more successful than “open” fusion spine surgery in eradicating pain and restoring motion from:

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