Frequently Asked Questions
Minimally invasive spine surgery utilizes a wide variety of advanced techniques, including lasers, endoscopes, operating microscopes, as well as computer-assisted navigation systems, so that procedures typically done with a large, open decision can be done through small openings.
By necessity, advanced technologies are needed to accomplish the same task that we would otherwise do with an open procedure using more basic equipment. The decision to use one or other types of advanced technologies depends on the individual condition and the surgery performed.
The decision to return to work should be individualized to the patient, as well as the patient’s occupation. For patients with sedentary jobs, such as office work, a minimally invasive discectomy would allow that patient to begin part-time work within 1-2 weeks. For a larger surgery such as a fusion, this may take 4-6 weeks. Again, return to work is much faster using minimally invasive surgery vs. standard open surgery but this decision is individualized to special needs of each patient.
The integration of our newest technologies that assist in Minimally Invasive Spinal surgery often require that radiology procedures be tailored to fit each operation and will often require a new scan.
Surgery should always be the last resort when it comes to treating spinal conditions in the neck and back. However, if various non-operative treatments have been attempted without improvement or worsening over a 6-12 month period, then surgical treatment seems reasonable for certain specific conditions such as spinal stenosis, sciatica, spondylolisthesis or degenerative scoliosis. The decision for surgery should be individualized to the patient and the patient’s symptoms, along with their level of function.
The field of minimally invasive spine surgery continues to grow. Most surgeries today can be treated with some aspect of minimally invasive surgery. However, there are certain conditions that require standard open treatment, such as high-degree scoliosis, tumors and some infections. The best options should be individualized to the patient’s diagnosis and overall patient condition.
Many gather to observe the Minimally Invasive Spinal techniques of Dr. Kern Singh including visiting professors, spine surgeons, fellows and residents. However, Dr. Singh performs the surgical procedure himself with a physician assistant to help retract and assist during the surgery.
MIS surgery minimizes bleeding, reduces the hospital stay, and allows for quicker healing without losing any benefits of an open procedure.
Bracing is NOT needed following a minimally invasive procedure. The use of minimally invasive techniques that preserve muscle function, along with specialized implants that act as an internal brace, allows one to avoid having to wear a brace.
The implants in spinal procedures (titanium and PEEK) do not set off the alarms in an airport.
Will I need a note from my surgeon?
You do NOT need a clearance note from your spine surgeon.