Spine surgery for sciatica via an incision no larger than a a needle puncture. Is this the reason why the Neurosurgeon (as oposed to an orthopaedic surgeon) is often the best qualified specialist to treat sciatica, and if so - what are the latest advances?
Are Spine Operations Brain Surgery?
Endoscopic microdiscectomy is a new keyhole surgery technique that allows surgery for prolapsed (slipped) discs to be performed through a needle puncture as opposed to an open wound.
One of the UK’s leading Neurosurgeons, Mr Irfan Malik who now specialises in this most advanced form of minimally invasive surgery provides us with a detailed insight into what is involved and who can benefit.
In his article Mr Malik says, “Endoscopic microdiscectomy is currently deemed suitable for patients with sciatica caused by a prolapsed (slipped) disc. Whether an individual patient would benefit from this technique as opposed to conventional open surgery is a decision best made by the patient in consultation with a surgeon who is expert in the technique as various technical considerations (that vary from patient to patient) do play a significant role in the success of this technique.”
Mr Malik goes on to explain that the latest endoscopic minimally invasive approach has some key benefits. Total Health asked Mr Malik to explain in plain English what exactly these benefits are for patients. Here is his reply:
“The procedure has several advantages for those patients that are suitable for the intervention. Firstly, as opposed to a several centimetre incision (5–10cm on average) that is required in even the smallest conventional microdiscectomy, the endoscope allows the whole operation to be performed through an incision no bigger than a needle puncture.”
“Secondly, because the endoscope is far more gentle and precise as a technique, there is much less tissue damage and scarring. This means that the incidence of subsequent pain (both in the muscle and wound) is greatly reduced. Indeed most patients are able to go home the same day.”
“Thirdly, because of the precision and gentleness of the system it is virtually bloodless.”
“Finally, because the whole procedure is literally performed through a needle puncture it is usually done without the need for general anaesthesia, using sedation and local anaesthetic alone. This means that the risks that are inherent when a general anaesthetic is required are avoided.”
For further information - see Endoscopic Microdisectomy Surgery