April 25, 2018
Introducing Endoscopic Spine Surgery
Less Pain and a Smaller Incision
Usman Zahir, MD - Orthopedic Surgeon
Spine surgery can be a painful experience. For many patients, the surgical treatment historically has been even more painful than the underlying condition.
One of the more common spinal conditions requiring surgery, lumbar disc herniation, has traditionally been treated with a procedure called a microdiskectomy, during which the surgeon would make an incision about 2.5cm in length and either use a retractor or a series of tubes to perform the procedure.
A New Option for Treatment
Patients who suffer from a lumbar disc herniation now have a new treatment option - endoscopic spine surgery. This procedure uses an endoscope (camera) to view the internal surgical field and perform the minimally-invasive spinal procedure.
Most people are familiar with arthroscopic surgery for the knee and shoulder, where the surgeon makes a small incision and uses an endoscope to perform the surgery. Until recently, these instruments were not frequently used for the spine.
With endoscopic spine surgery, the surgical procedure can be performed with an even smaller incision, usually less than 1cm. It is so small that many patients can ultimately even forget the location of their incision. There is minimal blood loss, the procedure is less painful, and patients can go home soon after the operation, sometimes within just a few hours.
Endoscopic surgery can also be performed for other spinal conditions, even stenosis. In 2017, in Fredericksburg, Virginia, we performed the state's first endoscopic laminectomy using a special new scope designed for stenosis.
Most patients who have a disc herniation or who have spinal stenosis will do well with conservative treatments such as medications, therapy, home exercises, and in some cases, injections. If these treatments are unsuccessful, endoscopic spine surgery then may become an option.
Endoscopic spine surgery does not cure any underlying arthritis, and is not an appropriate procedure for patients who have instability in the spine – these patients may need more traditional approaches.
If you are experiencing back or leg pain and have found no relief with conservative treatments, you can reach Dr. Usman Zahir at Premier Orthopedics of Virginia by calling (540) 993-4294 or clicking the below link to book an appointment directly online.