Recover faster with less-invasive spinal procedures

Dr. John France

If you have a back problem that hasn't gotten better with medicine or physical therapy, minimally invasive spine surgery might be a good option for you. WVU Spine Center surgeon John France, MD, explains.

What is minimally invasive spine surgery?
These surgical techniques use smaller incisions than traditional surgery to treat a variety of conditions, including fractured vertebra, herniated disc, spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), and spinal deformities (like scoliosis). Minimally invasive spine surgery is not one procedure but includes a vast array of techniques designed to accomplish the goal of surgery with less impact on surrounding tissue. Even some more complex spine surgeries, such as a spinal fusion, can be performed with minimally invasive techniques.

What are the advantages?
Minimally invasive spine surgery offers faster recovery time, improved quality of life, less post-operative pain, and less scarring. At the WVU Spine Center, our nationally-recognized surgeons are experienced in the entire gamut of spinal surgery techniques. Our team combines the expertise of WVU neurologists, orthopaedic specialists, neurosurgeons, pain management physicians, and rehabilitation services to target and provide you with optimal treatment.

Who is a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery?
If you and your doctor have attempted other treatments besides surgery without improvement, minimally invasive spine surgery may be reasonable for you. However, there are still many situations when a more traditional surgical approach is the best treatment method.

What are the risks?
All surgical procedures have an amount of risk. Depending on your age, spinal condition, and procedure needed, risks may include infection, nerve damage, or blood clots. The WVU Spine Center staff has access to advanced medical imaging technology, including specialized x-ray equipment that is used to guide spinal procedures. Our highly-trained spinal experts will lead you through the procedure and recovery with the highest level of care.

How long do I have to stay in the hospital?
Minimally invasive spine surgery decreases your hospital stay by about half the amount of time as traditional surgery. Patients typically go home in two or three days.

What are some other benefits?
We use the most advanced methods to get you the spinal treatment you need quickly and efficiently. Our beneficial software program called the Cordata system helps us assess and diagnose your medical condition so that we can pair you with the appropriate provider – surgical versus non-surgical – and determine the most effective treatment plan. This saves you time and ensures your care is administered smoothly across several departments.