Spine Endoscopy – Procedure, Advantages, Risks, Recovery & Results

The human body is one of the most perfectly engineered machines that exist. With each little cell playing its part harmoniously with the other parts of the body, we often do not realize how much is going on inside the human body. The literal backbone of this machine is our spine. A complex set of bones and nerve ending wired to not just help our body function but to also take some load off the brain.

Given our current lifestyles and the lack of care and sensitivity to our spine, the modern human populace suffers extensively from spine-related issues. A common issue is the lack of understanding as to how important this column of bones is. We at Apollo Spectra, endeavor to shine some light on something you should know:

  • The adult spine consists of 26 bones and acts as a column of support for the entire body and bears the weight of the head, neck and trunk.
  • It is the only structure protecting the spinal cord which is responsible for all transmissions and instructions to and from the brain.
  • Despite its non-disposable function in the body, a lot can go wrong with it including, but not limited to, bending the wrong way, severance in an injury or compression of nerves due to a tumor or multiple sclerosis.

Before modern medicine and surgical techniques were born, spine surgery usually meant open surgery with a high risk element including excessive blood loss, very little margin for error and long hours of surgery. This has all drastically changes on account of endoscopic spine surgery.

What Is Endoscopic Spine Surgery?

• Endoscopy is a type of surgical method which involves minimum invasion and was initially used only for diagnostic purposes. However, it is now used across surgeries to cut down on operating time and invasion.

• Using special instruments and cameras, surgeons perform spine surgeries through a small incision and this is called an endoscopic spine surgery.

• While not all spine surgeries can be performed using endoscopy, it is safe and effective for surgeries to treat disc herniation, spinal stenosis, failed back surgery syndrome, and a number of other spinal conditions.

Why Do You Need An Endoscopic Spine Surgery?
• Traditionally, any spine surgery meant open surgery, with long surgery hours and long incisions to allow for a better view and more flexibility. This meant longer recovery time, more blood loss and higher risks.

• Patients suffering from disc herniation, spinal stenosis, failed back surgery syndrome, etc. would benefit from an endoscopic spine surgery which allows to treat the spine with minimal invasion while retaining the benefit of a good view. The procedure is usually for less than an hour and the patient can start moving around within hours.

• The benefits of an endoscopic spine surgery are plenty: microscopic incision, minimal or no blood loss, immediate recovery, reduced pain meds, preservation of spinal mobility, mostly local anesthesia, same day surgery, high success rates, improved quality of life and no removal of muscle or bone.

• However, not all spine surgeries can be performed endoscopically. Surgeries dealing with spinal instability and involving spinal fusion and fixation cannot be done endoscopically.

How To Prepare For An Endoscopic Spine Surgery?

• One can start by focusing on their posture. By maintaining a good posture, the stress on the spine is reduced and the procedure has better chances of working.

• Getting out of the habit of smoking is important as it affects the spinal disk and aggravates the symptoms of spinal issue.

• In case you are overweight, try to lose the excess weight so that it reduces the stress on your pant and also allows for faster recovery.

• Get your tests done on time before the operation and schedule pre-surgery and post-surgery transport and other logistics.

• Make arrangements at work and home to ensure your recovery period is smooth.

Procedure

We at Apollo Spectra, believe in ensuring the patient has complete information about the procedure. With experts in the field, Apollo Spectra has a state-of-the-art setting for the following procedure:

• During the procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision through which a guided wire is inserted which is used to locate the affected area.

• A specially designed X-ray is used to ensure the wire follows the correct path to the affected area.

• Before removing the guided wire from the incision, the surgeon will use a number of dilating tubes placed over the guide wire to move apart the tissue to the vertebrae.

• A retractor is placed over the tubes and the procedure is performed using small cameras and a special surgical light.

• Once the affected area is treated, the retractor is removed which allows the tissue to enclose the surgery area.

• The site of the surgery needs only a small bandage after the procedure.

Results
• Most surgeries at Apollo Spectra, last less than an hour and are an outpatient procedure which means recovery is faster and with full chances of recovery.

• With minimum tissue damage, these surgeries have a success rate of complete recovery of 84%. We at Apollo Spectra, strive to deliver the best results.

• Herniated disks are the most widely treated by endoscopy and are completely treatable.

Potential Risks Of An Endoscopic Spine Surgery
As with any form of spine surgery, there are some risks and complications associated with this surgery as well.

• Recurrence of disk herniation after this surgery are at a 1 % to 20 % chance. This may happen directly after surgery or many years ago.

• A Dural tear occurs in about 7% of the cases

• Other risks involved are nerve root damage, bowel/bladder incontinence, bleeding infection, possible buildup of fluid in the lungs that may lead to pneumonia, deep vein thrombosis which occurs when blood clots form in the leg and pain that persists after the surgery.

Advantages of Endoscopic Spine Surgery
  • The endoscope provides excellent visualization making it possible to remove the extruded, prolapsed or herniated part of the disc selectively
  • Lasers and Radio-frequency devices are used to ablate or shrink the hard tissue and bony overgrowth compressing the nerves allowing the surgeon to reach otherwise inaccessible areas without cutting the bones, as is done in conventional surgeries
  • The use of local anaesthesia is the biggest advantage of this procedure. The awake patient can give valuable feedback about the pain, making it a very safe procedure. The procedure is extremely safe for elderly patients with medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiac or respiratory problems and for overweight patients, who are otherwise considered at slight risk for surgery or general anaesthesia
  • As it is stitch-less and done under local anaesthesia, the pain relief is significant and rapid and it is possible for many patients to walk home the same day, depending on their level of fitness. This avoids ICU monitoring and long hospital stays, no urinary catheters, no long term injections of higher antibiotics. It does not even require follow up dressings and all this makes it cost effective and affordable
Recovery

• Most people report improvement the same day of surgery and about 88% of the patients return to their daily activities within 3 months of the surgery.

• Post-surgery, the swelling and pain are usually closely monitored by the doctors, at Apollo Spectra. The patient’s care post the surgery is very important and we ensure that they’re comfortable.

• Returning to work within 3 months is a real possibility for most. In fact 81% of the people do that, especially for those with jobs that do not require excessive physical movement.

Endoscopic Spine Surgery at Apollo Spectra is a revolutionizing procedure. At Apollo Spectra, we make sure that our patients receive the best care and all state-of-the-art facilities. Our patient’s care is our topmost priority. Our team of spine experts identify the root of the problem, conduct multiple tests and devise a treatment plan accordingly, for every individual patient. Our team of spine surgeons are experts who thrive to use advanced techniques and technology, to deliver the best results.

FAQs

When should I consider surgery?

Surgery should always be the last resort when it comes to treating spinal conditions in the neck and back. If you’ve had non-operative treatments and they have been non responsive or have not led to any improvement over 6-12 months, then surgical treatment seems reasonable.

Am I a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery?

Most surgeries today can be treated with some aspect of minimally invasive. However, high-degree scoliosis, tumors and some infections of the spine need open surgery.

Do I have to wear a brace?

Most patients are provided a brace. However, this is for comfort only.

Which type of surgery has a greater success rate?

The short term success of minimally invasive spine surgery is well established. Long term success rates are being medically tested to determine an overall success rate. Our experts at Apollo Spectra are keenly involved in research, pertaining to endoscopic spine surgeries, to be able to successfully treat their patients.