Due to the many advantages of endoscopic spine surgery, it should always at least be considered, but currently it is not a replacement for all types of spine surgeries. Fortunately, with the advancement of surgical techniques and equipment, it is being used to treat a wider scope of injuries.
Why might endoscopic surgery be an option when other types of spine surgery are not?
Traditional surgery is limited because the surgeon must see the problem directly, whether with their eyes or a microscope. The endoscopic camera visualizes areas that are not usually visually accessible through holes into the side of the spine and around corners. This greater visualization combined with minimal damage and lowered surgical risk increases the spectrum of pathology that can be treated safely. This allows endoscopic surgeons to treat spinal disorders that traditional surgery may not treat. This happened many years ago in orthopedic surgery, when the endoscope was introduced to knee surgery. Today no one doubts the incredible benefits of endoscopy of the knee, and we are quickly seeing this happen in spine surgery.
Can endoscopic spine surgery help everyone?
Sadly, not everyone can be helped by endoscopic spine surgery. It is still spine surgery, which has inherent risk that is off-putting to some patients. Other conditions simply cannot yet be treated by this technique. Endoscopic spine surgery is the next advance in the treatment of spinal disorders, but it is not a cure-all.
Why isn’t all spine surgery done this way?
These procedures require a unique combination of skills that take time to acquire. There are only a few surgeons who have focused on mastering these advanced techniques. Endoscopic spine surgery is a hybrid procedure that falls in between interventional pain and minimally invasive spine surgery. It is a relatively new, cutting-edge technique. Endoscopic spine surgery is the future.
What are the advantages to endoscopic spine surgery?
▪ No general anesthesia
▪ Very small incisions
▪ Minimal damage to skin, muscle, ligaments and bone
▪ Minimal blood loss
▪ Less post-operative pain
▪ Faster recovery