Coronavirus Update: Important information about COVID-19. Read More

Endoscopic Spine Surgery

A minimally invasive solution for pain

How endoscopic spine surgery is performed

During an endoscopic procedure, the spine surgeon makes a small incision through which a thin wire is inserted. Under x-ray guidance, the wire is carefully advanced to the portion of the spine that is causing pain.  Next, the surgeon places several dilating tubes over the wire to temporarily spread the tissues apart. 

A hollow tubular retractor approximately the diameter of a pencil is then inserted over the dilators and wire, which are then removed.  

A small camera with a built-in light source is placed through the tubular retractor.  The spine and other tissues are viewed by the surgeon on a high-definition display monitor.  Surgical instruments, simultaneously placed through the same tube, can then be used to remove any pressure from the affected nerve(s).  This may involve resection of herniated disc material and/or bone spurs. 

By the end of the procedure, all sources of nerve compression are eliminated.  The camera, instruments, and tubular retractor are then removed, and the muscles and other soft tissues return to their normal positions.  A single stitch beneath the skin and a small bandage is all that is needed over the site of the surgery.

Take Our Endoscopic Spine Surgery Assessment

Could you be a candidate for endoscopic spine surgery?

Endoscopic spine surgery is an ultra-minimally invasive surgical procedure that can be used to relieve chronic pain or numbness in the legs, buttocks and lower back. Take our quick online assessment to see if you could be a candidate for this minimally invasive procedure. 

Answers to your questions

How do I know if I'm a candidate for endoscopic spine surgery? 

Endoscopic spine surgery is effective for spine conditions that cause leg pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, and heaviness.  While back pain may be improved, such surgeries are best suited for patients with significant symptoms in one or both legs.  Typical conditions include: 

• Herniated discs

• Spinal stenosis

• Bone spurs

• Facet joint disease

 

How is endoscopic spine surgery different than other types of spine surgery?

Minimally-invasive spine surgery represents a spectrum of techniques with endoscopy being the least invasive of all.  It offers numerous advantages over traditional, sometimes called "open" spine surgery, which typically involves large incisions, muscle damage, increased blood loss, general anesthesia, lengthy hospital stays, and prolonged recovery. 

 

What should I expect during and after surgery?

Endoscopic surgery is often performed using local anesthesia and sedation.  Such patients are in a comfortable “twilight” state during the procedure but do not typically recall the details of surgery afterward.  The entire procedure can take as little as an hour.  Patients are up and walking around shortly thereafter and are discharged home the same day. 

 

What are the physician’s credentials?

All spine surgeons at Texas Health Center for Diagnostics & Surgery are board-certified or board-eligible in orthopedic surgery or neurosurgery and have undergone fellowship-training specifically in the field of spine surgery. Surgeons performing endoscopic spine procedures have also performed additional specialized training on these techniques.

Benefits of endoscopic spine surgery

• Outpatient procedure

• Shorter recovery time and quicker return to daily activities, including work and play

• Small incision (less than a centimeter)

• Less postoperative pain and pain medications

• Local anesthesia with sedation, rather than general anesthesia, may be used

• Minimal blood loss during surgery

• Reduced risk of infection

• Avoid fusion in certain circumstances in which it would be otherwise be necessary

Ready to take the next step?

Understand the risks

While spine surgery can produce excellent outcomes, there are risks to any procedure.  Potential complications include surgical site infection, spinal fluid leak, and nerve damage (which can result in numbness, tingling, pain or weakness).  There are also general medical and anesthesia risks such as heart problems and blood clots. 

On rare occasions, during an endoscopic procedure, the planned surgical goals cannot be adequately met.  This may require conversion to another minimally invasive technique or potentially a second trip to the operation room.

 

Ready to make an appointment?

If you have additional questions about our spine services or would like more information about treatment options, please call our patient navigator at 972-543-1250 or

Request an Appointment