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Minimally invasive spine surgery

Guide to Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery in India

Did you know spine surgery can also be done by minimally invasive techniques with the same effectiveness but smaller cuts and smaller recovery time? 

Minimally invasive surgery uses smaller surgical incisions, and it’s generally less risky than traditional surgery. This advancement of technology helps many people to get rid of severe back pain and tumors without long healing periods.

Minimally invasive spine surgery done by a well-trained spine surgeon at a well-equipped center ensures 

  1. Less trauma to the muscles, nerves, and tissues
  2. Less bleeding, 
  3. Less pain,
  4. Reduced risk of infection.
  5. Smaller recovery time and reduced post-surgery hospitalization. 

Let’s understand from the experience of Hussien, from Lusaka, Zambia. 

Hussien is a 42-year-old owner of a car showroom. Hussien has a son, a daughter, and a wonderful wife. 

Hussein struggled for almost 10 years with spine pain. Hussien visited many doctors and took medicines and physiotherapy to get relief from the pain. But the condition got worse with time. One night Hussein got unbearable pain and he was admitted to the hospital. 

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The doctor did the MRI and the results indicated that his sciatic nerve was severely damaged, resulting in significant pain. Hussein was also having some neurological symptoms such as loss of sensation in both the legs and in bladder function. Hussien also consulted a neurologist regarding his issue and the neurologist suggested him to undergo surgery. 

Hussien’s son Rehman was very concerned about his father’s health and started researching for spine surgery which is both advanced and reasonably priced on the internet. Rehman’s research came to the conclusion that India is the best option as per his budget with results as good as in any developed country.

Rehman left the inquiry on the MedicoExperts website and the MedicoExperts team contacted Rehman and arranged the online video consultation with one of the most experienced spine surgeons from its panel. The doctor recommended and explained the minimally invasive surgical approach to Rehman and Hussien. He also cleared all the doubts regarding the surgery. After understanding the treatment protocol, Hussien decided to come to India for the treatment.

After 10 days, Hussein along with his son Rehman came to India for the treatment. Hussien got admitted to the hospital and evaluation tests were performed to check the current condition. As, there was no further deterioration, the spine surgeon performed the L4-L5 minimally invasive spine fusion surgery.

The surgery was successful and Hussein was discharged in 3 days from the hospital.

Husein was extremely pleased with the surgery and thanked the doctors and MedicoExperts team.

After a week, Hussien was not only relieved from back pain but also regained strength in his legs and bladder function. 

After a month, Hussien started walking without any pain,  He was happy to walk again. 

You can also get back to your active life after minimally invasive spine surgery with quick recovery, small cuts, and perfect results. What you need is the right combination of well-trained and experienced minimally invasive spine surgeons, a center that is well equipped and has well trained post-operative care team.

Before going into the details of minimally invasive spine surgery, let’s first understand what spine surgery is.

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What is spine surgery?

Spine surgery is a surgical procedure, mostly performed as the last retort to cure back pain. Typically, your doctor might wait for about 3-6 months for the back pain to subside before suggesting a spine surgery. 

What is the difference between open spine surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery?

Earlier, spine surgery was executed as open surgery. During open spine surgery, the surgeon made a long incision to view and access the spine. However, with advancements in technology spine conditions can now be treated with minimally invasive techniques.

During the minimally invasive spine surgery, the surgeon doesn’t make any long incisions thereby minimizing the damage to nearby tissues. Also, the operating time gets reduced considerably with a faster recovery.

Although minimally invasive surgery has faster recovery with minimal damage not all patients are appropriate candidates for these procedures.

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Why and when would your doctor recommend spine surgery?

Have you ever wondered why your doctor suggested spine surgery for you? Your doctor might have suggested spine surgery to help you get rid of the stubborn back pain when all other symptomatic treatment options failed to deliver the desired results. 

The common indications for spinal surgery are:

People who indulge in strenuous exercise, or older adults who develop some age-related wear and tear of the spine experience bulging, slipped or ruptured disc. Spine surgery is recommended for people in whom the slipped disc did not improve on its own or in people whose condition has worsened with time.

Bone spurs are bony outgrowths of the spine. Bone spurs are common in older adults. If you have bone spurs your doctor might suggest you have a spinal surgery. To avoid the spinal bone spurs from compressing or clamping down on spinal nerves your doctor may suggest you have spine surgery.

If you have a curved spine your doctor may have it surgically corrected.

With age, some people tend to become short. Mostly these people have osteoporosis or some other diseases that weaken their spine. To correct the weakness of the spine and to relieve you from the pain your doctor might consider spinal surgery.

The spinal canal is a hollow space present in the vertebral column which houses the spinal cord . Sometimes the spinal cord gets compressed due to narrowing of the spinal canal.

The pressure felt on the spinal cord can cause impaired movement or balance, numbness in body parts, altered bladder or bowel function. To correct this your doctor can advise you for spine surgery.

If you experience numbness or pain that radiates from the lower back down to the leg, you require a spine surgery.

Apart from the above-mentioned common conditions, there are other medical conditions that can cause low back pain. Some of them include:

  • Tumors of Spine
  • Traumatic Injury of the spine
  • Spinal Infections like osteomyelitis
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What are the different treatment options for back pain?

Back pain is not easy to live with. Sometimes the pain can be unbearable but with proper treatment, your doctor can help you manage the pain. 

Managing back pain can sometimes be more difficult than we usually assume. Initially, your doctor may prescribe medicines or exercises or physiotherapy, or a combination of medicines and exercises to manage back pain. However, in some people, the pain is difficult to manage. For them, your doctors suggest spine surgery.  

The surgery can be open spine surgery or minimally invasive spinal surgery. Before discussing the different types of surgery let us understand the difference between open spinal surgery and minimally invasive spinal surgery.

What are the different surgical approaches for spine surgery?

Irrespective of the type of surgery, your doctor needs to access your spine from different directions. The different ways through which your doctor checks your spine is called a surgical approach. Mainly there are three surgical approaches:

  • Anterior approach: During this type of surgical approach the surgeon accesses your spine from the front of your body, ie through the abdomen.
  • Posterior approach: During the posterior surgical approach your doctor makes an incision in your back.
  • Lateral approach: This surgical approach helps your doctor get the pathway to your spine through the sides.
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Imaging during spine surgery, endoscopic spine surgery

What is imaging during spine surgery?

Doctors these days use computer-assisted image guidance that allows them to view the operation site with much more clarity than traditional visualization techniques. 

The attenuated clarity to view the operation site eases the doctor to ensure proper positioning of the implants that need to be inserted with a greater degree of accuracy.

During the computer-assisted image guidance, the doctor superimposes the images taken of the spine preoperatively (before surgery) with the images taken during the surgery. This technique helps your doctor to get a real-time view of the anatomical position and orientation of the operation site.

What are the common types of spine surgery?

Spine surgery is the last retort your doctors take to relieve you from back pain. Based on your symptoms and surgical approach your doctor will suggest the best spine surgery for you. The different types of spine surgery include:

During this surgical procedure, your doctor removes the herniated intervertebral disc. Once the herniated disc is removed the pressure from the compressed nerve is released thereby relieving you from the pain.

While performing laminectomy your doctor removes the thin bony plate or lamina present on the back of the vertebra. Once the bony plate is removed the space within the spinal canal increases thus relieving pressure.

Your doctor removes a portion of the vertebral arch or lamina that covers the spinal cord during laminotomy.

During foraminotomy, your doctor removes any bony or tissue outgrowth in the spinal cord passage.

Disc replacement surgery is an alternative to spinal fusion. During this procedure, your doctor replaces the injured disc with an artificial one.

As the name suggests spinal fusion surgery is a surgical approach to join two vertebrae. This procedure may include the use of a bone graft, to accomplish the fusion. 

Usually, the fusion surgery is performed to stabilize the lumbar vertebra to eliminate movement between them. The different types of lumbar fusion spine surgery performed in India are:

  • Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion
  • Lateral Interbody Fusion 
  • Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion
  • Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion 

What is minimally invasive spine surgery or endoscopic spine surgery?

Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS)  or endoscopic spine surgery is an innovative surgical technique that caters to successfully treat a wide spectrum of spine problems using smaller incisions.  The endoscopic spine surgery causes minimal damage to the nearby muscles and tissues, thus, accelerating faster recovery.

Through minimally invasive spine surgery your doctor wants to achieve the following results:

  • Stabilize spinal vertebrae
  • Decrease the pressure on spinal nerves that causes disc herniation, spinal tumors,  spinal stenosis or bony spurs
  • Decompress pinched spinal nerves
  • To manage pain caused by disc herniation, spinal tumors,  spinal stenosis or bony spurs.
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How to determine if you are a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery in India?

Spine surgery is considered as the last retort to help people with excruciating back pain. Although spine surgery has its benefits not everyone is eligible to undergo his procedure. You can undergo the Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery only if;

  • You have chronic back or neck pain
  • The limbs became numb or weak.
  • You are experiencing excruciating pain that radiates from the neck or from the back to the limbs.
  • The pain becomes too severe, which interferes with your ability to perform your daily chores.
  • Physiotherapy, medications or other conventional treatment did not help you manage your back pain.

What do you expect during the minimally invasive spine surgery or the endoscopic spine surgery?

We know many of us to get apprehensive before the surgery about what their doctor will do once they fall asleep after getting administered with anesthesia. Well!  Let us understand what happens during minimally invasive spine surgery.

During minimally invasive spine surgery, your doctor makes a small incision to reach your spine. Through that keyhole hole incision, your doctor inserts a device called a tubular retractor. 

The tubular retractor is a tube-shaped, stiff tool that creates a tunnel that reaches the spine. Once the tube reaches the spine it gently pushes aside the muscle and soft tissue around the area. Through the tunnel, your surgeon will put small tools that will help him work on the spine. 

The surgery is performed with the help of an operating microscope to view real-time X-ray images of the spine.

Once the spine surgery procedure is completed, your doctor removes the retractors. Lastly, the doctor puts the sutures to close the incisions he or she had made earlier.

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What are the advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery?

Studies suggest that minimally invasive surgery is a safe procedure that effectively helps to resection the spine. The advantages of  minimally invasive spine surgery technique over conventional treatment are:

  • Reduced damage to the surrounding muscles and neighboring healthy tissues.
  • Minimal pain
  • Minimal scarring.
  • Reduced risk of infection
  • Reduced recovery time
  • Smaller incisions.
  • Reduced rehabilitation time

What is the cost of minimally invasive spine surgery in India?

Minimally invasive spine surgery is a revolutionary surgical approach to correct spine disorders. But have you ever wondered about the cost of minimally invasive spine surgery in India. 

Typically, minimally invasive spine surgery costs around USD $ 5400 – USD $ 6000 (405299 – 450332 INR) in India 

However, the cost of treatment for minimally invasive spine surgery varies for every patient depending on the cause and severity of the back pain.

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What is the success rate of spine surgery treatment in India?

Around 90% of people with spine conditions get rid of their back pain after the spine surgery. However, the success of the surgery does not solely depend on surgery. People who underwent spine surgery must ensure to take care of their posture and physical health after the surgery. 

The risk of relapse of back pain increases in people who do not maintain proper posture after the minimally invasive spine surgery. 

How to choose the best neurosurgeon for your spine surgery?

The Vertebral column plays an important role in protecting the spinal cord. Spinal cord plays an essential role in carrying nerve signals from and to the body.  Any issues that affect the vertebral column or the spinal cord must be addressed at the earliest. 

If you experience and your doctor advises you to undergo spine surgery take an informed decision while choosing your neurosurgeon. 

We believe that an ideal neurosurgeon for your spine surgery who has years of experience in and someone who has handled a variety of cases with a success rate greater than 75%. 

Apart from that, you must ensure that the neurosurgeon is aware about the latest surgical techniques, equipment, and protocols.

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How to choose the best hospital and best country for minimally Invasive Spine Surgery in India?

Minimally invasive spine surgery uses advanced technology that requires advanced imaging techniques, and well-trained doctors and healthcare staff.  

While choosing a hospital for your spine surgery look for a hospital that offers world-class healthcare services that are equipped with the latest spinal surgical techniques.

We at MedicoExperts help you find suitable hospitals that have been accredited by NABH and JCI and offer you world class health services.

Although the UK and USA have advanced neurosurgery hospitals, the treatment in western countries may pinch your pocket.  

Unlike western nations and other developed nations the cost of treatments and surgeries in India is almost half.

The availability of world-class treatment at an affordable price has attracted many multinational citizens to India for their treatment. 

Apart from affordable prices and world-class facilities the availability of a few of the world’s neurosurgeons in India also attracts many people. 

The Indian healthcare system boasts of well-trained neurosurgeons along with specialized and well-trained operative and post-operative care teams who are capable of handling complex cases, at an affordable cost.

Frequently Asked Questions and patient concerns:

1. How long do I need to stay at the hospital after spine surgery?

Generally, your doctor may advise you to stay at the hospital for 5-8 days after spine surgery. However, the recovery is faster in people who underwent minimally invasive spine surgery and the period of hospitalization is less for them.

2. When can I start walking after spine surgery?

Typically, you can start walking within a few days after your spine surgery.

3. Are there any side-effects or complications after spine surgery?

A few people complain of infection, dural tear, leakage of cerebrospinal fluid or nerve damage after the spine surgery. However, the complications are rare.

4. How much time does it take to recover completely after a spine surgery?

It usually takes around 2-3 weeks for you to resume your work. However, your doctor may advise you to avoid heavy work for a few more weeks depending upon your recovery.

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