Ultra Minimally Invasive Endoscopic Assisted Lumbar Fusion

Published on November 20, 2023 by Dr. Nathaniel Rawicki

For many years, spine surgeons have been searching for ways to accomplish the same goal of improving patient outcomes while limiting post operative pain and recovery. Surgeons have been honing their techniques to provide each patient with the most minimally invasive option possible for their specific problem. While there are certainly situations where traditional open techniques are necessary, when the specific spinal problem does not require it, there are many benefits to Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery is more of a “catch-all” umbrella phrase, rather than a specific technique, but the goal is to provide the least invasive solution to solve a specific problem. As technology has improved, and surgeons embraced this ideology, we have been able to provide our patients with options that allow for smaller incisions, less post operative pain, less narcotic pain medication usage, and faster recovery. One such technological advancement is the Ultra Minimally Invasive Endoscopic Assisted Lumbar Fusion and has further advanced our understanding of how we can provide the best possible solution to our patients.

What is Ultra Minimally Invasive Endoscopic Assisted Lumbar Fusion?

The Ultra Minimally Invasive Endoscopic Assisted TLIF (Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion) system is a surgical technique used to treat conditions where a patient may be experiencing significant leg and back pain due to degeneration, or “wear and tear” of the discs and/or joints in their lower back. In certain settings, the pressure caused by this degeneration can be associated with instability of the bones in the lower back, and if all conservative treatment options fail to provide adequate symptom relief, this Ultra Minimally Invasive option becomes a potential solution.

In cases of instability, or significant disc collapse, the space available for the nerves can be severely limited, leading to pain which often travels down from the back to one or both legs. The TLIF procedure involves removing the damaged disc material between two vertebrae and fusing them together using a spacer which is filled with bone graft. This restores the height of the disc, and therefore the space in the nerve tunnels (foramen), to relieve pressure on those nerves. This helps stabilize the spine, improve alignment, and reduce pain.

The Ultra Minimally Invasive Endoscopic Assisted Lumbar Fusion system combines minimally invasive, tubular techniques with endoscopic technology, allowing the surgeon to perform the TLIF procedure with minimal invasiveness. It involves the use of specialized instruments and an endoscope, which is a thin tube with a camera and light source attached to it. The endoscope provides a clear view of the surgical site, enabling the surgeon to navigate and perform the procedure with increased precision, and better visualization of any potential degenerative changes in your back. This improved visualization allows for a smaller tube being used, and therefore, smaller incisions overall.

Potential benefits of this technique for the patient:

  1. Less soft tissue disruption: This Ultra Minimally Invasive System reduces the size of the incision, resulting in less tissue damage, reduced blood loss, and a faster recovery time compared to traditional open surgery, or even other minimally invasive techniques.
  2. Reduced pain and scarring: The smaller incision and less tissue disruption may lead to less postoperative pain and scarring.
  3. Quicker recovery: Patients may experience a shorter hospital stay and a faster return to normal activities due to the ultra-minimally invasive nature of the procedure.
  4. Improved cosmetic outcome: The smaller incision and reduced scarring contribute to a better cosmetic appearance.

Additionally, this system provides various benefits for the surgeon:

  1. Enhanced visualization: The endoscope provides a magnified and illuminated view of the surgical site allowing the surgeon to visualize anatomical structures more clearly.
  2. Precise navigation: The system enables the surgeon to navigate through the spinal anatomy with greater accuracy, reducing the risk of complications.
  3. Improved patient outcomes: The combination of minimally invasive techniques and enhanced visualization can lead to better surgical outcomes, reduced complications, and improved patient satisfaction.

While it may seem like this cutting-edge and innovative technology could only be found in larger cities, requiring significant travel, that is no longer the case. One particular platform for this Ultra Minimally Invasive Lumbar Fusion, the Dupuy Synthes Teligen system, is now available in Hammond. LA. This is the first of its kind in the entire state of Louisiana, and one of the first in the Southeast United States!

Make an appointment today if you would like a consultation to see if this Ultra Minimally Invasive option is right for you!

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