Medically reviewed by W.S. (Bill) Edwards, Jr., MD Pee Dee Spine Center
Many surgical procedures have involved smaller incisions and various minimally invasive techniques for quite some time. Due to the delicacy of the spine, surrounding muscles and nerve pathways, it took longer to introduce these higher-tech approaches to back operations. Now, they are relatively standard for a full range of spine surgeries.
“Traditional spine surgery used an incision about 6 inches long and we pulled or retracted the muscles out of the way to see the surgical site," says fellowship-trained McLeod Spine Surgeon W. S. (Bill) Edwards, Jr. “This often bruised or injured the muscle, leading to a longer recovery and more pain. Now, our technology uses small half-inch incisions and we gently spread the muscles to insert a small retractor or tube and then pass instruments through it. We can see what we are doing through the small surgical approach with an operating microscope that magnifies the surgical site and document our location with real time X-ray during the procedure.