Spine surgery: minimally invasive vs. open spine surgery

November 4, 2016

Over the last few decades, spinal surgery has significantly changed, providing plenty of benefits to patients. Previously, open spine surgeries were the only option to treat any spinal cord disorders. However, the introduction of minimally invasive spine surgery has made this procedure convenient for both patients as well as surgeons.

The difference between an open spine surgery and minimally invasive one includes:


Scars have always been a result of any invasive surgeries. In the case of open spine surgeries, it would be required to remove extensive layers of skins and muscles to get to the affected part. During the healing process, scars that are formed often take time to heal, especially in extensive areas. Additionally, broad scar tissues can restrict movements. Minimal invasive surgeries require small incisions, resulting in small scars.

Cut through the spinal muscle

Traditionally, open spinal surgeries require incisions that go deep through the skin and muscles, depending on the spinal disorder that needs to be treated. This would not only affect the muscles that need to be cut but also result in a longer healing period. Minimal invasive procedures do not require long incisions, especially when it comes to cutting through muscles. This results in less damage and a faster recovery period.

Stress to the body

The body comprises of a mix of muscles, nerves, blood networks which functions through the spinal cord, within the spine. Any invasive procedure to the spine will put a stress on these factors, which in turn, will increase the stress on the body. Open spine surgery is usually a highly invasive procedure with a higher risk of stress. Minimal invasive surgeries reduce these risks and hence result in less level of stress to the body.

Reduction in pain

Since open spine surgeries require extensive incisions, there is a high chance of nerves getting affected, which would result in pain. At times, the level of pain would be intense and also last a lifetime. Minimal invasive spine surgeries require small incisions, thus affecting fewer nerves. As a result, the level of pain the patient is exposed to is low.

Less time in the hospital

A spinal surgery will require a considerable stay in the hospital. However, the extent of the stay will depend on the procedure and the healing process. Traditional surgeries such as the open spine surgery would require a few weeks of hospital stay before travelling home. Patients undergoing minimal invasive spine surgery, on the other hand, would require fewer days of hospital stay and they could also resume their daily activities in a shorter period of time.