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Minimally invasive spine surgery

Minimally invasive spine surgery offers key advantages over open surgery, which requires larger incision, muscle stripping and damage, longer hospital stay and recuperation period.

Advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery:

  • Patients go home hours after surgery for some procedures.
  • Decreases hospital stay.
  • Reduced amounts of pain.
  • Smaller scar.
  • Decreased blood loss.
  • Reduced infection rates.

What symptoms possibly can be treated with surgery?

  • Neck pain with arm pain.
  • Back pain with leg pain.
  • Weakness.
  • Numbness or tingling in your extremities.
  • Walking problems.

Minimally invasive procedures

Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion (OLIF)

Unlike other lateral approaches to the spine that go through the muscles, the OLIF surgery avoids the muscle entirely preventing significant leg weakness after surgery. Michael Rhee, M.D., is among an elite group of physicians using the OLIF approach to spine surgery.

OLIF is recommended to treat nerve pinching caused by severe loss of disc height due to degeneration and spine instability, among other conditions.

  • It is a minimally invasive spinal fusion surgery that replace traditional open spinal surgery.
  • Treats spine instability, restores degenerated disc height, relieving nerve pinching.
  • Decreased pain levels when compared to traditional surgical techniques.
  • Decreased hospital length of stay, often one night stay.

With traditional spine surgery, the physician cuts through muscle mass to reach the spine. But with OLIF, Dr. Rhee makes a small incision in the patient's side.

  • Many patients are up and walking the same day, often returning home the next, versus a three-to-five-day hospital stay.
  • Patients experience fewer complications, including less scarring and blood loss.

Watch this video of Dr. Rhee explaining OLIF.

See videos on more minimally invasive procedures:

Philosophy of care

"We offer a wide scope of surgeries to decompress, stabilize and re-align the spine," Dr. Rhee said. But he cautions that not everyone is a candidate for surgery.

"We often start by recommending physical therapy, pain management and weight loss," Dr. Rhee said. When conservatively managed, many patients improve without surgery. Others may still require traditional open surgery because of their anatomy or other medical issues.

"The patient's needs dictate what surgeries they will need to achieve pain relief," Dr. Rhee added. "Having this wide range of minimally invasive surgical techniques available means we have more options than ever to better serve our patients, and ultimately, to improve their outcomes."