Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery describes any procedure that is less invasive than an open surgery used for the same purpose, and is redefining the field of surgery. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) procedures usually involve laparoscopic devices and remote-controlled manipulation of surgical instruments with observation of the surgical field through a scope, either micro or endo.
In traditional open neurosurgeries, surgeons need to make large incisions in order to operate and access the area of concern. With MIS, surgeons can make just a few small holes or openings, usually no more than ½ inch each, and use sophisticated video equipment to perform the operation.
Most often, MIS procedures cause less operative trauma for the patient and the surgical site. It also causes less post-operative pain and scarring, can help speed up a patient’s recovery and reduces the presence of post-surgical complications.
Minimally invasive neurosurgeries are proven to cause less post-operative pain and discomfort and patients report decreased usage of post-operative pain relievers
Patients who have a surgery that is considered minimally invasive experience less trauma to the surgical area, which means they can return to normal activity and leave the hospital sooner.
Because of the small incision needed by MIS, there is decreased risk of incisional infection and patients are left with much smaller scars than with traditional open neurosurgery.
In spinal surgeries, MIS techniques allow the muscle to be retracted or pulled to the side instead of cut through to reach the operative site. This sparing of the muscle tissue allows patient to recover much quicker and experience far less pain post-operatively.
The video-assisted equipment techniques used in MIS provide a surgeon with better visualization and magnification of the brain and spine during surgery. This translates into more accurate and effective procedures.
In minimally invasive neurosurgeries of the brain, neurosurgeons use endoscopes with thin pieces of tubing that provided detailed video images of the brain and its structures through an incision only as wide as your thumb. Smaller instruments that can cut, retrieve or destroy abnormal tissues or tumors can then be passed through the endoscopic tubes allowing intricate surgery to be performed with little or no trauma to the surrounding areas.
In addition to allowing specialized brain surgeries, neuro-endoscopes also reduce the size of a patients scalp incision by only having one or two small incisions. Traditional brain surgery requires opening the skull entirely and is usually accompanied by a 7 – 10 inch scar across the scalp. Endoscopic approaches require one or two dime-sized holes.
In MIS surgery, special medical and operative equipment are used to aid a surgeon’s techniques throughout the procedure. These equipment items can include:
- fiber optic cables
- miniature video cameras
- special surgical instruments
- external video monitors