Advantages of endoscopic surgery

Endoscopic spine surgery is the more effective alternative to the types of open back surgery that often invoke fear in patients. Many delay and even refuse an invasive procedure for fear of lengthy recovery times, potential problems with infection, anesthesia and scarring. The minimally invasive spine surgeries available at Laser Spine Institute are performed as outpatient procedures, require no protracted recovery time and have a 96% patient satisfaction rate. When counseling your patients with back pain make sure that they are not under the illusion that all back surgeries are the same; many will be surprised at how quickly they could be pain-free without the need for extensive surgery.

One major advantage of endoscopic spine surgery is the avoidance of hospitalization— something that worries many patients, particularly those with young families, demanding lives and jobs. A shorter recovery period after a procedure reduces the costs associated with surgery as patients avoid excessive hospital bills, childcare costs, and loss of earnings as they can return to work more quickly than those undergoing open back surgery. The shorter recovery period also means that patients are better able to engage in physical activity to restore and maintain general health.

Further benefit of endoscopic spine procedures at Laser Spine Institute is the considerably reduced infection rate of just 0.10%; the national average is between 2% and 10%. Patients are also happy to note that the tiny incision of less than an inch reduces visibility of scarring after surgery. Open back surgery scars can make many patients feel self-conscious, as well as having an increased risk of complication from blood loss and infection where large incisions are needed. As the use of the endoscope avoids the need to sever back musculature to access spinal structures, minimally invasive surgery reduces the risk of spinal instability that can occur after open back surgery.

Such invasive methods also increase the risk of failed back surgery syndrome which runs at more than 50% for open back surgeries. The inconvenience and expense of a two to five day hospital stay for open back surgery that does not then resolve the pain and symptoms leads many to seek an endoscopic procedure their second or first time around. Just two to three hours after an endoscopic discectomy, patients are normally able to walk out of the surgical center and rest in their hotel room before a follow-up appointment the next day.

Advances in endoscopic techniques means that patients have a wide range of options for addressing common spine conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis. Spinal fusion, artificial disc replacement, and even disc repair using a patient’s own stem cells are now available through minimally invasive spine surgery procedures. Instead of, for example, a complete discectomy necessitating a subsequent spinal fusion to provide stability, endoscopic techniques allow the surgeons to remove the disc fragments causing pinched nerves without compromising spinal structures. When the complete disc does need removing, it can also be performed endoscopically. The spine’s structure and stability are left intact as no back muscles need cutting in order to get to the disc.

The muscle-sparing approach used at Laser Spine Institute means that patients undergoing surgery for foraminal stenosis, spinal stenosis, and facet arthritis can be up and about within hours (or even minutes) of surgery and on their way home shortly after. The many advantages of endoscopic surgery mean that such procedures are often the clinically appropriate first choice for patients, instead of open back surgery and its associated risks.

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