For those with chronic spine pain, surgery has commonly been thought of as a “last resort” treatment; the results usually thought not to outweigh the risks, or at least not by much. Recovery time with traditional, open-back surgery to fix spinal pain could be up to a year, and there are serious risks of infection and other complications involved.
What Is Endoscopic Surgery
As medicine has continued to advance, newer and less invasive technologies have been developed to allow those with chronic pain to undergo surgery with fewer risks, and a faster recovery time. At BASIC, our main goal is to relieve your pain, but we also do everything possible to get you back on your feet quickly, with a comprehensive recovery, which is why we have perfected the use of minimally invasive pain treatments.
While surgery is still commonly regarded as a last resort, used after patients have tried other treatment options with minimal success, one of the most revolutionary ways to treat back pain now is with endoscopic spine surgery. Traditional open back surgery would be a complicated process involving a large incision made on the patient’s back, with “open-back” surgery performed to fix the cause of pain. Endoscopic surgery improves the process by allowing a physician to only have to make a few small incisions on the back, rather than one large one. Through these incisions, the physician will insert an endoscope.
An endoscope is a tiny camera device that is connected to a TV screen in the room, allowing the doctor to get a much better visual of the surgery space. The camera is connected to a cable and a light source, which helps to illuminate the area that doctor will be working in. The cable connecting the camera to the TV allows for magnified images of the area to be displayed in a large enough way so that the physician has greater access to the area.
Using the endoscope to get key visuals of the spine allows the doctor to see the affected area without opening the back more than is necessary, and without further damaging the tissues surrounding the spine. Most endoscopic surgeries are so non-invasive enough that they don’t even require general anesthesia, though this may be a possibility.
Because the incision(s) are so much smaller than those involved in traditional back surgery, the patient’s recovery time is significantly reduced. Rather than recovering for a few months to a year after back surgery, endoscopic surgery patients typically have a recovery time of about 3-6 weeks, varying on the degree of pain and the patient’s lifestyle. A quick recovery time is the greatest benefit of having endoscopic surgery done, but most patients will also experience a significant (or complete) reduction in pain, less scarring, a lowered risk of infection, and a fast return to their normal, daily routine with decreased risk of re-injury.
Because of the minimally invasive nature of the procedure, it’s often a great option for people who have other medical conditions that would be made worse by putting their body through a traditional surgery recovery. Endoscopic spine surgery can often provide pain relief from patients suffering from: herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, bulging discs, facet joint disease, failed back and neck syndrome, and various other conditions. Endoscopic surgery can be performed in the lumbar (lower back), thoracic (mid-back), and cervical (upper back/neck) regions of the spine with excellent results.
Of course, despite the medical advancements in spine surgery, and the long list of benefits of endoscopic surgery, it is still not the right answer for every patient suffering from pain. To determine whether you are a good candidate for endoscopic spine surgery, and to begin your process of recovering from pain, schedule a consultation with us today.