Spinal Surgery vs. Minimally Invasive Treatment: How To Know What’s Right for You?
Whether your spinal issue is acute or chronic, non-operative treatment should be the goal, with spinal surgery in NYC as a last resort. When deciding what’s right for you, it helps to understand the different types of spinal surgeries and minimally invasive treatments.
Open Spinal Surgery vs. Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery
Generally, spinal surgery is only pursued when a period of nonsurgical treatment fails to solve the issue. Surgery is also considered when your doctor can pinpoint the source of your pain, such as degenerative disc disease. When surgery is necessary, your surgeon will determine which surgical technique is best: open spinal surgery vs. minimally invasive spinal surgery, or MISS.
Open spinal surgery means that the area being operated on is opened with a long incision to allow the surgeon to view and access the anatomy. However, technological advances mean we can treat more back and neck conditions with MISS. In these procedures, doctors use specialized instruments to access the spine through small incisions.
Some of the benefits of MISS compared to open spinal surgery include:
- MISS does not create a long incision, avoiding significant damage to the muscles surrounding the spine
- Less pain after surgery
- Faster recovery
- Best for standard procedures, such as decompression and spinal fusion
- It helps the surgeon to see only where the problem exists in the spine
- Reduced bleeding
The most advanced techniques and minimally invasive treatments include the following:
- Endoscopic Discectomy
- Microscopic Tubular Discectomy
- Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)
- Trans Foraminal Interbody Fusion (TLIF)
- Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF)
- Percutaneous posterior instrumentation
- Deformity correction (Scoliosis / Kyphosis)
- Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty
Conservative Spinal Treatments
Spinal medical professionals use the term “conservative treatment” to describe a wide range of therapies that do not involve surgery. Most patients can successfully manage back or leg pain with conservative treatment, alleviating symptoms and restoring function.
Dr. Stieber generally recommends the following conservative spinal treatments:
- Medications to reduce pain and inflammation, from aspirin for mild pain to narcotic pain medications to treat acute or severe pain
- Physical therapy to correct postural imbalances, strengthen muscles, and improve flexibility
- Passive therapies such as spinal manipulation, myofascial release, ultrasound, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Active therapies such as therapeutic exercise to increase flexibility and build strength and endurance
- Biomechanics, such as postural correction and lifting techniques
- Epidural Steroid Injections or nerve blocks containing a steroid as a potent anti-inflammatory, and a local anesthetic for pain
Spinal Surgery vs. Minimally Invasive Treatment: Dr. Stieber Can Help You Choose Which Is Best for You
As a top spine surgeon in NYC, Dr. Jonathan Stieber pairs his medical expertise with sophisticated technology to evaluate your condition and develop a treatment plan. Dr. Stieber’s focus is to help you return to regular activity and prevent further progression of your condition whenever possible. Our comprehensive approach features a multidisciplinary philosophy of patient care and working with other healthcare professionals, as optimal results are often obtained with a combination of treatments.
For most of our patients, Dr. Stieber begins treatment with a custom blend of conservative methods proven effective in relieving pain and improving function. He believes spinal surgery should be a last resort and will only recommend surgical intervention if less extensive methods are insufficient.