This list of frequently asked questions or faq about minimally invasive spine surgery do not replace the advice of a physician. It is important that you ask us all the questions you have about minimally invasive spine surgery.
Why choose minimally invasive spinal surgery?
Unlike traditional open surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery requires only a few small incisions rather than one large one. Not only does this minimize the visibility of scarring, but it also means less blood loss during the operation, a shorter hospital stay, and a faster recovery time. In fact, many patients make a complete recovery in just a few months rather than the year it takes to recuperate from open surgery.
Am I a candidate for spinal surgery?
Only your doctor can help you determine if surgery is right for you. Dr. Ozgur believes in treating patients as conservatively as possible, using non-surgical methods when possible. However, surgery may be right for you if previous non-surgical treatment attempts have been unsuccessful. There are many conditions minimally invasive spine surgery can treat, including scoliosis, sciatica, and spinal stenosis.
What is treatment like with Dr. Ozgur?
Dr. Ozgur takes a ‘patient first’ approach to care, providing sophisticated treatments based on the unique needs of each individual. When you first meet with Dr. Ozgur, you will have the opportunity to discuss your questions and concerns about your condition, diagnosis and the various treatment options available to you. Dr. Ozgur’s treatment recommendation will largely depend on your condition and the results of prior treatments. If surgery is necessary, Dr. Ozgur will take a minimally invasive approach in order to minimize blood loss, reduce soft tissue damage, shorten recovery time and diminish post-operative pain.
Are there any risks associated with minimally invasive spine surgery?
All surgical procedures carry some degree of risk – some more than others. Minimally invasive spine surgery is designed for smaller incisions that open surgery, which results in less bleeding and a shorter recovery. However, there is always a possibility of complications, such as infection at the incision site, blood clots, spinal cord injury or even an adverse reaction to anesthesia. Dr. Ozgur will be happy to discuss the risks of spine surgery and help you determine if it is right for you.
What will Dr. Ozgur do during my surgery?
Like other minimally invasive procedures, spine surgery is performed using the guidance of advanced imaging devices, such as a fluoroscope or an endoscope. Images of the surgical area are projected onto screens in the operating room. Dr. Ozgur will make a few tiny incisions, though which he will use thin surgical instruments to perform your operation.
Dr. Ozgur uses three grafts for fusion surgery. What is the difference between them?
There are three types of bone graft options, each of which offers specific benefits and may be recommended based on unique patient factors, such as age, bone density and preference. All offer long-lasting results. The three graft options are:
- Autograft – bone harvested from the patient’s own body (usually the hip)
- Allograft – bone harvested from a donor cadaver
- Synthetic graft – man-made material designed to mimic natural bone
How will my neck be affected by a fusion surgery?
Fusion surgery is performed with the intent of improving a patient’s quality of life. Though you may notice a slight loss in motion-range after your fusion surgery, it is unlikely that you will experience any difficulty in turning your head side to side. Most patients report feeling less pain than they did prior to surgery and improved overall neck function.
Will I need to stay in the hospital for a long time after my surgery?
If you have minimally invasive spine surgery in Irvine or Los Angeles, your hospital stay will be significantly shorter than that of patients who undergo a traditional open operation. Depending on the type of minimally invasive surgery you undergo, your hospital stay may be as little as 1 to 3 days – not the 5 to 7 days that open surgery requires.
I’m concerned about pain and discomfort after surgery. What should I expect?
Every patient will have different levels of discomfort following a spinal operation. However, minimally invasive procedures are designed to minimize postoperative pain. Dr. Ozgur will talk with each patient about pain and provide options for comfort management.
Will I need to wear a brace after surgery?
Minimally invasive surgery does little damage to muscle function and includes the use of an implant that performs as a type of internal brace. This eliminates the need for a brace to facilitate the healing process, though many patients find that it helps minimize pain in the days and weeks immediately following surgery.
How long do I have to wait before returning to work, school, or other activities?
Minimally invasive spinal surgery dramatically reduces the recovery period after an operation. Some patients – specifically those with sedentary jobs – can return to work within just 2 weeks of surgery or 4 – 6 weeks for fusion surgeries. However, everyone recovers differently. You will work closely with Dr. Ozgur to evaluate your progress and determine when you can begin resuming your usual activities.
How can I facilitate a safer and more complete recovery?
We recommend that our patients ease into activity in a controlled environment. In many cases, this means starting a physical therapy program within a few weeks of having spinal surgery. The extent and duration of physical therapy necessary will depend on the type of procedure performed and each patient’s individual needs and healing progress.
To request an appointment with Burak Ozgur, MD, top US neurosurgeon in southern CA specializing in minimally invasive spine surgery, please call (949) 383-4190 or toll free 888-64-SPINE or Contact Us ➲.