Many more minimally invasive spine surgeries are performed nowadays compared to a few years ago. The rate of complications has reduced significantly with advanced and modern technology.
The experience of the spine surgeons themselves play a significant role in reducing the complication of spine surgery. It has been showed that surgeons who perform more than 50 spine surgeries in a year has significantly lower rate of complication compared with surgeons who perform less than 50 cases per year. If you need spine surgery, make sure that you choose the surgeon with adequate experience in spine surgery.
Other than the operators, there are modern technology that plays an important role to make spine surgery safe.
- Neuromonitoring is used to monitor the nerve function at all time during spine surgery. If there is any problem with the nerve, the neuromonitoring machine can alert the surgeon. This allows the problem to be rectify during the surgery.
- Microscope helps to provide clearer surgical fields especially when the surgical incision is small. Microscopic magnification allows the surgeons to identify the important structure very clearly.
- Image Guidance using Xray or CT scan provide radiographic feedback to help us to localise the intended area of surgery. It also allows the surgeon to confirm the accuracy of implant placement.
- Computer Navigation is navigation system similar to GPS. This is used in spine surgery especially in difficult area such the upper cervical spine. This technology provides specific information to the surgeon on the exact area where they are operating when the anatomical landmarks are minimal.
Thus, experienced surgeon together with appropriate modern technology makes the minimally invasive spine surgery safer than before.
Author: Dr Tony Setiobudi BMedSci, MBBS, MRCS, MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho), Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon, Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Orchard), Singapore