If you have a spinal injury or abnormality that conservative treatments have not successfully brought under control, then your doctor may recommend spinal surgery. More specifically, they may recommend minimally invasive spine surgery, which is more colloquially known as MIS surgery. It is important to understand, though, that while this surgical approach does work well for many, it is not necessarily right for everyone. You should spend at least a few days weighing your options, talking to your doctors, and pondering the following pros and cons before you sign up for MIS surgery.
Pros of MIS Surgery
The scars are smaller.
With traditional spinal surgery, you end up with pretty large scars. With MIS surgery, however, you will only have a couple of keyhole scars that are one to two inches long. These scars fade away pretty substantially within a few months.
You'll heal faster.
The smaller incisions made during MIS surgery heal faster than the larger incisions made during traditional spinal surgery. Also, there is less damage done to soft tissue during the surgery because small surgical tools are guided through the muscle, rather than large incisions being made in the muscle. This leads to less soreness and a shorter recovery time post-surgery.
There's less risk of damage to soft tissue.
One of the biggest risks with traditional spinal tissue is the risk of damage to soft tissue. Since the incisions made in soft tissue are smaller with MIS tissue, there is less risk of lasting damage that leads to problems like muscle atrophy and nerve damage.
Cons of MIS Surgery.
It can be hard to find a surgeon in some areas.
MIS surgery is highly technical, and it requires a lot of expensive equipment. While there are traditional spinal surgeons who work in most hospitals, surgeons who perform MIS surgery are fewer and farther between, so you may need to travel to have the surgery.
Insurance may not fully cover the cost.
Health insurance plans typically cover spinal surgery, but it's common for them only to contribute the cost of the traditional surgical approach. Since MIS is more expensive, the insurance plan may not fully cover it, and you may be left paying part of the cost out of pocket.
MIS surgery can be a really good choice if you can cover the costs and find a surgeon in your area. Talk to your doctor for more detailed information on the risks specific to your own condition.