For a long time spinal surgeons have looked for new ways to perform surgeries that are less invasive, increase the positive outcomes, and reduce recovery times. The idea is that if a surgeon is able to reduce the amount of damage done to tissue, blood vessels and nerves then there are less negative impacts a patient will feel and the less time it will take that patient to recover. The problem is that despite a strong interest in minimally invasive spine surgery, there is not much evidence that it actually accomplishes any reduction in patient discomfort or benefits long terms outcomes any more than a traditional spine surgery. This lack of evidence does not mean that spine surgeons aren’t trying to find new techniques or develop better tools.
High Tech Helpers For Spine Surgeons
The spine is a complicated part of a person’s anatomy. This complexity means that a surgeon has almost no room for error. New high tech methods are decreasing errors by assisting surgeons in being able view the spine and its anatomy during surgery. For example, CT scans have advanced to a point where they can now be incorporated into an operating room allowing a surgeon to see what his work has accomplished quickly. Another exciting example of technology helping spine surgeons is computer-assisted navigation. Not unlike the GPS in your car, this new tool helps a surgeon find important landmarks on the spine and track a tool’s location along those landmarks.
Micro-Tools Make Spine Surgery Less Traumatic
There are new advances when it comes to the simpler tools a spine surgeon uses as well. Specialized instruments that can be used in conjunction with fiber optic cameras allow for smaller incisions and less damage done to the body. A tool called a tube retractor allows for these small tools to pass through areas without causing much, if any, damage. Tiny and specialized screws have even been developed which can pass though a tube retractor, which means that newly developed spine implants can be put in place with minimal invasion into the body. These new screws are making spinal fusions much easier to accomplish and reduces the amount of necessary secondary injury that is done to the patient.
Finding The Best Choice In Spine Surgery
It is important to keep in mind that all of these new techniques are just that, new and not completely tested. Their potential for changing how spinal surgeons perform their job and how patients recover after surgery make them very exciting. The excitement should be tempered with caution though, not all orthopedic spine physicians are trained in the new procedures. The good news, however, is that every orthopedic doctor at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute receives training in cutting edge technology. If you are experiencing spine pain or have been told you might need spinal surgery, make an appointment today with one our incredible spine surgeons. IBJI is your best choice for spine care in Illinois and has some of the best orthopedic physicians in the country. All of our physicians are ready to help you reduce your back pain, increase your mobility, and get back to the activities you love.
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