In the last 10 to 20 years, minimally invasive spine surgery vs. traditional, “open” surgery has been the subject of hundreds of academic studies, from small case studies to large meta-analyses that compile the data from many studies in an attempt to gain greater confidence in the conclusions. Over and over, the minimally invasive approach has outperformed the traditional, “open” approach on a number of levels. Here is a sample from some of the conclusions of recent studies comparing the minimally invasive and the open approaches.

“…minimally invasive TLIF (transforaminal lumar interbody fusion) resulted in less blood loss, lower follow-up VAS score [an indicator of pain], and shorter perioperative hospitalization relative to open TLIF.”

“Eighty-two percent of the patients treated with ELND (Epiduroscpic Laser Disc and Neural Decompression) reported positive treatment results as opposed to 45% receiving END alone (non laser neural decompression). Thus ELND, with its considerably higher percentage of positive outcomes, is judged to be a more effective therapeutic modality for patients with chronic refractory LBP (lower back pain).”2

“Using a minimally invasive lumbar decompression for spinal stenosis, one can safely and effectively reduce pain, improve functionality, and minimally change spinal biomechanics and stability in Laser Spine Procedure  patients who have failed conservative treatment, and who are not yet in need of, or who do not desire, more invasive open surgical de-compression procedures.”3

“The postoperative back pain improvement was greater in the Minimally Invasive Discectomy (MID) group [than the Conventional Discectomy Group]. The data suggest that MID has lower complication rates than CD (conventional discectomy) in the setting of Recurrent Lumbar Disc Herniation.”4

1. Comparison between Minimally Invasive and Open Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion: A Meta-Analysis of Clinical Results and Safety Outcomes. Lin Y, Wenjian Chen W, Chen A, Feng Li F. J Neurol Surg A Cent Eur Neurosurg 2016; 77(01): 002–010.

2. Epiduroscopic Laser Disc and Neural Decompression. Kim J-D, Jang JH, Jung GH, Kim JY, Jang S-J. JNR 2011; 1(S1): 14–19.

3. Minimally Invasive Lumbar Decompression for Spinal Stenosis. Deer TR, Mekhail N, Lopez G, Amirdelfan K. Minimally Invasive Lumbar Decompression for Spinal Stenosis. JNR 2011; 1(S1): 29–32.

4. Surgical management of recurrent lumbar disc herniation and the role of fusion. Dower A, Chatterji R, Swart A, Winder MJ. J Clin Neurosci. 2016 Jan;23:44–50.

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