What Minimally Invasive Surgery Really Is

Almost every spine surgery practice uses the term “minimally invasive” to describe their surgery procedures. This phrase has become a buzzword in recent years. Every patient wants to go with  “minimally invasive” if surgery becomes necessary. Logically, the less invasive a procedure, the faster recovery and the smaller the scars.

Laser spine surgery has been used in association with minimally invasive, but it reality, lasers are not used at all today in performing any spine surgery.

At Pacific Spine Specialists, our surgeon Dr. Timothy Keenen has recognized the need for clear, upfront communication with patients about what he promises when he describes a surgical procedure as “minimally invasive.” Dr. Keenen strongly believes in minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for his patients. For Dr. Keenen, MIS is a surgical philosophy.

The History of Minimally Invasive Surgery

The meaning of Minimally invasive surgery (MIS)  has changed over time. The earliest MIS successes were in removing gall bladders and knee surgery, where small ¼ incisions replaced 3-5 inch incisions.

MIS involves a reduction in the size of the incision and careful navigation of the skin, ligaments, and muscles to minimize the effect on these structures. In spine surgery, there are several minimally-invasive techniques that effectively stabilize the spine and/or take pressure off of the nerves.

When traditional spine surgery is done from a posterior, or back sided approach,  the supporting muscles are detached from the spine . Now, with MIS,  the posterior approach surgery allows for a smaller incision with less injury to the muscles and ligaments supporting the spine..

The newest techniques, which are part of the next generation of MIS, leaves the supporting muscles attached. The surgery is done in between the muscle fibers. This allows the muscles to continue to support the spine and also allows for a smaller incision as compared to traditional techniques. Dr. Keenen is experienced with next generation minimally invasive surgery as an option for his patients.

Dr. Keenen’s Minimally Invasive Philosophy at Pacific Spine Specialists

Dr. Keenen will  use minimally invasive surgery when possible.. Dr. Keenen is able to perform surgery with one small incision and minimal soft tissue damage. As a patient, when you discuss surgery with your doctor, be sure to ask about the technique he or she plans to use and whether they plan on detaching the supporting muscle tissue from the spine. This may influence your spine surgeon choice.

At Pacific Spine Specialists, you can trust that Dr. Keenen will use the most state of the art spine instrumentation and next generation MIS techniques. He has studied with national experts who have revolutionized MIS. As a surgeon, Dr. Keenen’s most rewarding part of his career is witnessing patients experience shorter recovery times and overall surgical success.

To learn more about the surgeries Dr. Keenen provides, contact Pacific Spine Specialists at our Tualatin, OR office. We treat patients all over the Portland area.