Chronic back pain can significantly impact daily life. But the prospect of spinal surgery can seem daunting. Fortunately, advancements in medicine and surgery have made it possible to perform many procedures with less cutting and less downtime than used to be possible. And, the new techniques often provide more reliable results.
Still, regardless of all the advancements, surgery isn’t usually the first option.
Vladimir Fiks, MD, of Advanced Pain Management Center in Portland, Oregon, specializes in treating chronic pain conditions, and he uses conservative approaches whenever possible. In this blog, Dr. Fiks explains what minimally invasive spinal fusion is, some of the conditions it can treat, and when it could be right for you.
Spinal fusion basics
The basic concept of spinal fusion is fairly straightforward: It essentially fuses or welds two or more vertebrae in your spine together. This process causes them to function like a single bone, which restores stability to the spine and eliminates the movement triggering pain within the spinal column.
Dr. Fiks uses spinal fusion to treat several painful back conditions, such as:
- Herniated discs
- Fractured vertebra
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Infection or tumors
Spinal fusion can also help with spinal deformities, such as scoliosis.
How minimally invasive spinal fusion works
In the past, spinal fusion required extensive surgery, a hospital stay, and a lengthy recovery. But Dr. Fiks uses the patented StabiLink® MIS Interlaminar Spinal Fixation System, which makes the entire process far less invasive.
During minimally invasive spinal fusion, Dr. Fiks makes an incision 2-4 centimeters in length in your back to access the vertebrae. Then, he uses the patented PG® Precision Guided Inserter/Compressor to place the spinal implant. After placing your implant, Dr. Fiks closes the small incision in your back.
This advanced approach to spinal fusion offers numerous advantages, such as:
- Secure and optimized placement
- No need for multiple or bulky surgical instruments
- Shorter procedure time
- Less trauma to the area
- Reduced risk of infection and post-operative pain
- Fewer requirements for post-operative rehabilitation
- Minimal scarring
- No need for general anesthesia
Plus, the StabiLink implant can limit lateral bending, flexion/extension, and axial rotation in the fused vertebrae, providing for significant stability.
When to consider minimally invasive spinal fusion
Spinal fusion can provide dramatic results. On average, people see their pain decrease by 73%, and they require fewer medications, become more active in daily life, and are able to walk better. However, that doesn’t mean minimally invasive spinal fusion is right for everyone.
To start, Dr. Fiks always explores treatment options using conservative and nonsurgical approaches first. These strategies might include physical therapy, exercise, activity modification, or spinal injections.
If your pain doesn’t respond to conservative therapies, Dr. Fiks could explore the benefits of spinal surgery, such as minimally invasive spinal fusion.
Do you have persistent back pain? Dr. Fiks can find the best treatment option to ease your symptoms and restore your quality of life. To learn more, call 971-233-4199 or book an appointment online with Advanced Pain Management Center today.