When it comes to providing care for our patients, we always want to do the most amount of good with the least amount of toll on the patient’s body, and oftentimes we achieve this with the help of a minimally invasive procedure. As the name implies, a minimally invasive or laparoscopic procedure attempts to resolve an internal problem by accessing the site with specialized equipment and the use of a microscopic camera that relays a video feed to the surgeon who operates by looking at a screen. This allows the surgeon to only make a few small incisions instead of a larger incision that is made during the traditional open operation.
So while the toll on your body may be smaller, that doesn’t ensure that it will be smooth sailing as soon as you’re discharged from the surgical center. In this blog, we explain what you can expect following minimally invasive spine surgery.
Life After Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Here’s a closer look at what you can expect following minimally invasive spine surgery so you can ready your expectations.
- Pain – There will be some pain and discomfort following your surgery, even though smaller incision sites were used to access your spine. The good news is that pain levels are typically less than those patients who undergo a traditional spinal surgery. Pain also tends to last for a shorter time period than for patients recovering from an open technique operation. Because of this, pain can usually be managed with less aggressive means, like over-the-counter painkillers instead of prescription opioids.
- Hospital Stay – Although it depends on the specifics of your procedure, patients who undergo a minimally invasive operation can expect a shorter hospital stay, with many patients being discharged the same day. Because the procedure is less taxing on your body, doctors are more willing to discharge patients on the same day if they have a ride home and seem capable of caring for themselves.
- Recovery Time – One of the main benefits of minimally invasive surgery is that it can significantly reduce your recovery time following spine surgery. Depending on your procedure, you may be standing and walking the same day as your surgery if you go with the minimally invasive route. Since you’re able to be active more quickly following a laparoscopic procedure, patients can also typically progress through their rehab faster. Oftentimes your recovery time is weeks shorter with this surgery method.
- Surgical Site Scarring – There is also a cosmetic benefit to minimally invasive surgery. Because the openings on your body are much smaller, they often heal with an invisible or barely noticeable scar, whereas an open procedure can leave you with a 6-8 inch scar on your back. And while physical therapy is important following both procedures, you have a reduced likelihood of developing problematic scar tissue inside the body as a result of the smaller incision sites when you undergo laparoscopic spine surgery.
- Rehab – Finally, although the trauma on your body is less when using minimally invasive techniques, that doesn’t mean that rest and time will be your only rehab methods post-op. You’re still going to need to put in the work in terms of physical therapy and proper wound care, otherwise problems can develop. You may not need to rehab as long, but you need to put in the same level of effort no matter what type of surgery you undergo.
For more information, or for answers to questions you may have about minimally invasive spine surgery, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.