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Frequently Asked Questions

Microspine & True MIS FAQ

Why Was Microspine and True-Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery different than other approaches?

MIS was developed to treat disorders of the spine with less disruption to the muscles. This can result in quick recovery, reduced operative blood loss, and speed patient return to normal function. In some MIS approaches, the surgeons utilized mini-open and/or tubular-based retractor to achieve the surgery.

Microspine approach is much less invasive and more precise as Dr. T utilized a magnified high-definition endoscope along with real-time neuro-monitoring and navigation enabling surgical access to the affected area of the spine and treating or repairing the problems or pathologies effectively, precisely, and safely.

How would you select a qualified Spine Surgeon for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Training and experience is critical and of utmost importance when selecting a surgeon. Dr. T, is fellowship-trained in both Neurosurgical and Orthopedic Spine Surgery (completed at the World-Renowned Stanford University Medical Center and Texas Back Institute). Dr. T is an experienced spine surgeon who dedicated his career solely for Microspine and true minimally invasive approach.

Dr. T always customized your treatment as everyone is different. Surgery is not a “cookbook” or “one size fits all” so Dr. T will spend time listening to your problems/concerns, evaluating and finding the solution to help you which often times non-surgical treatments will be appropriate. Dr. T will recommend the least invasive but most effective approach if the surgery is indicated.

What is the difference between ‘Microspine and True Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery’ VS ‘Traditional Open Spine Surgery’?

Microspine incision is about 10 mm for treatment of disc herniation, disc bulge, and stenosis. True Minimally invasive spine surgery uses smaller incisions, 1-2 inches in length. The technique causes minimal collateral damage to the surrounding soft tissue and muscle by placing working tubes, endoscope and instruments along your natural muscle fiber path. Several studies reported a shorter surgery center stay, lower complication rates and lower infection rates compared with traditional, open spine surgeries. The techniques usually involve light magnification of the surgical site with microscope, microscopic loupes, endoscopes and special instruments that can operate within the small space. In general, Microspine uses Endoscope and sometimes “GPS” or navigation whereas Minimally invasive uses some other magnification devices either telescope or microscope. In other words, Microspine is much less invasive or the least invasive technique in spine surgery.

Open spine surgery requires a much more invasive approach where retractors are used, muscle is cut away or retracted to the side away from the spine and the bony structure of the spine are exposed. This method has increased risk of infection, blood loss, recovery time and requires a hospital stay in most cases and in some patients.

What conditions can be treated by “Microspine” and “True-Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery” ?

Many spinal conditions can be treated by Microspine and True-MIS approach. Discussing the difference and benefits of each approach is an important part of the diagnosis process that our surgeons utilize.

These most common conditions treated include: lumbar and cervical disc bulge, protrusions, herniations, degenerative disc disease, Spinal Stenosis, Sciatica, Spondylolisthesis, spondylosis, facet joint arthritis, some form of spinal fractures, and some form of scoliosis.

Can 'Spinal Fusions' be performed using 'Microspine and True-Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery'?

Many spinal fusions can be done with True minimally invasive spine surgery techniques using very small incisions or a percutaneous approach such as “Lateral Lumbar inter-body Fusion, Transforaminal Lumbar inter-body Fusion. Dr. T is one of the few surgeons who specialized in Microspine / endoscopic spinal fusion in appropriate patients and pathologies.

What risks are involved, and what extra precautions are taken during a Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

The risks of Microspine and True-Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery are similar to open traditional surgery; however the benefits are greater. Patients’ outcomes are our main focus. Some patients have fear of being paralyzed from spine surgery. At our center, we utilize “real-time” intra-operative Neuro-Monitoring where electrical leads are placed on a specific area of the body that allows surgeon to monitor spinal nerves and/or spinal cord during the surgery. The surgeon, a certified technician in the operating room, a neurologist, and an anesthesiogist are working as a team to ensure your safety.

What treatments should a patient undergo prior to having a Microspine and True-Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

As with all non-emergency spinal surgeries, the patient should undergo an appropriate period of conservative treatment, such as activities modification, physical therapy, anti-inflammatroy medication, spinal injections without showing improvement before surgery is considered. The time period of this varies depending on the specific condition and procedure, but is generally six weeks to six months. The benefits of surgery should always be weighed carefully around its risks. Although a large percentage of patients report significant symptom and pain relief, there is no guarantee that surgery will help every individual.

Will my surgery take place in an out-patient surgery center?

Depending on your health, what type of surgery, and the availability of Microspine equipments. Majority of our Microspine and True-Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeries can be performed in an out-patient surgery center. There are several studies demonstrating excellent outcomes, less infection utilizing minimally invasive spine approach in out-patient surgery center in appropriate patients. Patients are released to return home the same day (if all the discharge criteria are met). Another advantage of utilizing an out-patient surgery center is that we can control the cost of each patient’ s surgery, thus saving them on out-of-pocket costs.

How long will I be off work?

Depending on the level of physical exertion required by the employer, our surgeon will suggest the appropriate time off to recover and heal the most effectively. Utilizing Microspine and True-MIS approach, most of the patients can return back to desk type job or sedentary work within 1-2 weeks for non-fusion surgeries; and approximately 6-12 weeks for fusion surgeries.

Many of our patients return back to work within a week with some limitations. Our surgeon will answer the estimated time off work needed at the new patient consultation.

Can I drive after surgery?

We do not allow driving while wearing a brace or in the first week after surgery. You are allowed to be a passenger until Dr. T evaluate and determine that you are safe to drive at your follow up visits. Most of the patients who underwent Microspine surgery usually can drive within 2 weeks.

How soon can I start exercise after surgery?

Depending on the surgery performed, our surgeon will determine the length of time to allow for healing. The patients are encouraged to do low impact exercise at 1 or 2 weeks after surgery. Our goal is to get each patient active as soon as possible and continue to strengthen their core to help stabilize the spine.

Do you provide second opinions to discuss my condition and treatment options?

We see a number of patients who seek a second opinion prior to proceeding with surgery. We feel it is important to fully understand the benefits as well as any risks involved. Bringing a family member to each patient’s consultation is recommended by our team.

What is the cost, and does my insurance plan cover the Microspine and True Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery procedures?

We accept most insurance plans, including Private/Commercial insurances, PPOs. Our office staff will verify this for you at no charge. We have dedicated team who specialize in negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of each patient and are very successful in reducing out-of-pocket costs.

REQUEST APPOINTMENT

If you are suffering from low-back pain, neck pain, herniated disc, sciatica, pinched nerve and have been researching minimally invasive spine surgery as well as laser spine surgery, schedule an appointment to speak to Dr. T and Microspine Team today.