Endoscopic Spine Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of endoscopic spine surgery?


Endoscopic spine surgery has many benefits to the patient. First and foremost, there is less disruption of muscle and normal tissues which leaves less risk of infection and quicker recovery. The incision is very small so there is little loss of blood and there will be minimal scar tissue formation. This technique preserves or increases range of spinal motion and requires reduced levels of pain medications post-surgery.


How long is the usual recovery period of endoscopic spine surgery?


Typically, the procedure itself lasts 60-90 minutes and the patients will go home later the same day. The patients can walk, do light activities and take care of themselves right away and should expect full recovery within several weeks.


What is an endoscope?


An endoscope includes a light, a camera to visualize the surgical field and a tool to manipulate or remove tissue. The endoscope is a flexible tube that is fed into a tube roughly the size of a pen that is inserted between the back muscles of a patient. The endoscope transmits video feed of the surgery during the procedure.


Am I a candidate for endoscopic spine surgery?


Not all patients can be treated with endoscopic spine surgery. Open surgery may still be the best option for some conditions. Please consult with your doctor to determine your individual surgical needs.


Why is physical therapy/rehabilitation important after a procedure like this?


In order to get the greatest return of function for patients and maximize their recovery, weak muscles in the back and core or neck must be addressed. This will help avoid future problems. Rehabilitation and physical therapy following endoscopic spine surgery can include ice, electrical stimulation, retraining posture, strength training with resistance, cardiovascular training, and stretching for flexibility.


Why isn’t all spine surgery done this way?


Endoscopic spine surgery is currently the newest and most innovative treatment option for patients experiencing back and neck pain. Because it is still considered in its infancy, relatively few surgeons have undergone the training or are technically proficient enough to perform Endoscopic spine surgery. Also, the specialized equipment needed can be expensive and may not be available at every medical center.