Less invasive surgical techniques such as use of a series of sequential dilators to dilate the muscles without cutting them and a retractor to create a small tunnel to view the spine are also used, resulting in less trauma to the surrounding muscles and tissue. These provide additional advantages that include:
- Few small scars rather than one large scar
- Less blood loss during surgery
- Less postoperative pain
- Shorter hospital stay
- Reduced risk of infection
- Shorter recovery time with quicker return to daily activities, including work
Who are the ideal candidates for minimally invasive scoliosis surgery?
Minimally invasive scoliosis surgery is not appropriate for every patient. It is usually used when scoliosis curvature lies in the thoracic spine. For thoracolumbar (mid to lower-back) curves and lumbar (lower back) curves, usually traditional open procedure is preferred. In patients with a double thoracic curve, neuromuscular curves, significant kyphosis (hunching of the spine) or lung problems mostly an open procedure is recommended.
Your doctor will determine the right approach for you depending on the type of scoliosis, location of the curvature of spine, ease of approach to the area of the curve and also their preference.
How is minimally invasive scoliosis surgery performed?
For the minimally invasive surgery, you’ll first be administered general anesthesia and put to sleep. You will be then be positioned on a radiolucent operating table, which allows the surgeon to take intraoperative X-rays of your spine with a fluoroscope positioned around you. This guides the surgeon in determining the correct position of the incision and also in instrument placement during the procedure.