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What is Minimally Invasive Scoliosis Surgery and what are the advantages of this approach?
The goal of scoliosis surgery is to both reduce the abnormal curve in the spine and to prevent it from progressing further and getting worse. To achieve this, a spinal fusion is performed to fuse the vertebrae, in the curve to be corrected. This involves placing bone graft or bone graft substitute in the intervertebral space between the two vertebrae. Instrumentation such as rods and screws are also used to realign and stabilize the vertebrae until the graft heals and fuses the two vertebrae together.
There are several approaches to perform scoliosis surgery. Traditional approaches involve making a long incision over the curve to be corrected and cutting and retracting the muscles and tissues over the spine to gain access to the vertebrae that need to be fused. With advancements and innovations in endoscopic and minimally invasive surgical techniques, surgeons can achieve the same goals as open surgery, yet with much less trauma to the surrounding muscles and tissues through minimally invasive scoliosis surgery.
Minimally invasive scoliosis surgery is an endoscopic procedure in which surgery is performed through a few small incisions rather than one long incision. In this approach a thin telescope-like instrument with a tiny video camera called an endoscope is inserted through one of the small incisions. The inserted endoscope provides the surgeon with internal images of the patient’s body onto a television screen in the operating room. These images and intraoperative X-ray images from the fluoroscope positioned around the patient, guide the surgeon to perform the surgery through small incisions. The use of endoscope and fluoroscope also improves visualization of the chest cavity and spinal column and allows greater flexibility for placement of the instrumentation in the spine.