Minimally invasive approaches to spinal surgery are becoming more popular and in many instances, are highly effective. Not all conditions or spinal diseases can be treated effectively with a minimally invasive approach. Minimally invasive techniques involve the use of small incisions done with the assistance of an endoscope, microscope, x-ray guidance, and/or a minimally open technique.
The Spine Center at Johns Hopkins offers minimally invasive approaches for the treatment of cervical or lumbar disc herniations, degenerative disc disease requiring fusion surgery, and some types of spinal trauma including vertebral compression fractures.
Minimally invasive spinal surgery may have advantages over traditional open surgery to include smaller incisions, shorter hospital stay, reduced postoperative pain, less blood loss, shorter recovery, and reduced risk of infection. Studies are ongoing to determine if the long-term outcomes of minimally invasive spinal surgery are superior to traditional open surgery.