Mini Spine Fusion

Why is Mini Spine Fusion Better Than Traditional Spine Fusion?

Benefits and Comparisons:

Mini Spine Fusion Surgery*

  • Length of Hostpital Stay: None
  • Blood Loss: Less than 20cc
  • Walking: Same day
  • Return to Normal Activity: 4-6 weeks

Traditional Spine Fusion*

  • Length of Hospital Stay: 3-5 days
  • Blood Loss: 300-600cc
  • Walking: 2-4 days
  • Return to Normal Activity: 6 months or longer

What Are Indications for Mini Spine Fusion?

This type of surgery is recommended for:

  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Lumbar degenerative disease
  • Recurrent lumbar disc herniations
  • Foraminal stenosis requiring disc height restoration

Mini Spine Fusions Can Not Treat:

  • Some spinal deformities with significant rotation
  • High-grade spondylolisthesis

How Is a Mini Spine Fusion Surgery Done?

During a minimally invasive spine fusion procedure, the spine approached is dependent on the patient’s condition needs. The incision area may be posterior or lateral, and will be discussed with the patient beforehand. Under the guidance of x-rays; a needle, guiding wire, a dilator, and a small tube from 9 mm to 18 mm diameter is inserted through the muscles to the spine. The damaged disc is removed through the tube, under X-ray guidance and direct visualization. To make sure nerves are not harmed or irritated during the process, in some procedures like XLIF, neuro-monitoring (testing of the nerves) is conducted during the procedure to provide the surgeon with real-time information about the position of the nerves. Bone graft and a cage filled with bone graft are inserted to replace damaged disc and keep disc height. This cage together with the bone graft will allow the spine to fuse.

Sometimes, depending on the diagnosis of the condition, additional support is needed to hold the vertebrae in place during the surgery. In this case, the surgeon may also decide to put in additional implants, such as screws, plates or rods for added support.

What is Recovery after a Mini Spine Fusion Surgery?

Mini Spine Fusion Surgery is a “minimally invasive” surgery from which patients generally recover easily. The length of time the patient is required to stay under physician care varies from patient to patient. Many patients are able to go home in the same day and drive the next day.

Furthermore, many patients notice an improvement in their symptoms immediately after spinal fusion surgery. In other patients, symptoms go away gradually. Since the minimally invasive fusion surgery does not cut muscles and bones, but rather splits them, many patients are able to get up and walk around the night after they’ve had spinal fusion surgery. Local tenderness, however, is normal and should be expected.

Overall, the total recovery time is relatively short, and most patients are able to quickly return to their normal activities in a few weeks.

What Are the Risks of a Mini Spine Fusion Surgery?

The Mini Spine Fusion procedure, like any other surgical procedure, has certain potential risks and complications associated with it. As with any surgical procedure, we will discuss all potential risks of the Interbody Fusion Surgery procedure before a decision is made.

Some of the possible risks and complications include, but are not limited to:

  • Persistent pain after surgery
  • Failure to fuse
  • Bleeding
  • Temporary nerve swelling
  • Infections
  • Muscle weakness
  • Permanent nerve injury
  • Deep vein thrombosis

*Statistics and information regarding mini spine fusion and traditional spine fusion surgery is based on average patient outcomes and does not represent all situations.