Endoscopic spine surgery is the work of a neurosurgeon who uses a very small high definition camera. Sound complicated? Eyewitness News sits down with a surgeon at Little Falls Hospital to explain exactly what he does on the job.Minimally invasive spine surgery is a new area of spine surgery. It's one Dr. Carl Spivak is specializes in. Quicker recovery, and less tissue damage makes this type of surgery one that is growing in popularity. The newest technology uses a high definition video camera to see into the spine so the doctor can visualize the damaged areas. "The advantage of endoscopic spine surgery is that people are awake. So they don't have to have all the risks of general anesthesia. This allows me to offer surgery to people who traditionally wouldn't be a candidate," says Dr. Spivak.
Believe it or not patients can even get direct feedback during the surgery. In traditional surgery there would be a large incision and doctors would retract the muscles, creating a lot of damage to the muscles, but science has come a long way. Doctors at Little Falls Hospital say when they do endoscopic spine surgery they use a camera that is no bigger than a pencil and they make an incision no larger than your fingernail.Dr. Spivak describes the start of surgery like this: "We go in with a needle and we inject die into a disc. Then we place a tube into the spine." Taking pressure off of a nerve relieves pain, tingling or sometimes even weakness. As technology develops doctors like Dr. Spivak are doing more complicated surgeries.
While the choice to perform surgery depends on the patient, it is often an option for those both young and old and of all professions. "We had a police officer who had very serious back pain, come in for this treatment. He was able to get back to work in about four or five days after the treatment with most of his pain gone," says Spivak. Patients are able to go home about one hour after the surgery.Looking forward Dr. Spivak has a vision. He says, "I think that endoscopic spine surgery is going to be very important in the future. It is already starting to catch on and right now its spreading throughout the United States."