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Benefits of Minimally Invasive Back Surgery- Chicago, IL

non invasive spine surgeryBack pain is quite common. In fact, millions of people experience it on a daily basis. Although some people can easily manage the pain they experience, others find it difficult to get relief. Excruciating pain and lack of mobility have a massive impact on a person’s quality of life. That’s why back surgery poses as the only solution for many people to finally manage and relieve pain. Just like in all other cases, the surgery can be invasive and non-invasive. Throughout this article, we’re going to discuss non-invasive back surgery In Chicago and its benefits.

Do I need back surgery?

Surgery is always considered as the last resort. Ideally, you should consult your doctor regarding the surgery. In most cases, the surgery is an option only when various non-surgical treatments don’t manage to relieve the pain or when an individual experiences worsening of the pain intensity in a period lasting between 6 and 12 months. The decision for surgery is usually individualized to the patient, his or her symptoms, as well as the level of function. Chicago Non invasive spine surgery options are the least damaging to the muscles surrounding the spine, hence a shorter and far less painful recovery. 

What is minimally invasive spine surgery?

Non Invasive Back SurgeryWhen it comes to spine, surgeries are usually traditional “open surgeries” where the area being operated is opened with a long incision (5 to 6 inches) which allows the surgeon to have a complete view and access the anatomy easily. This type of surgery is considered invasive. Once the surgeon makes the incision, he or she moves the muscles to the side in order to see the spine. Then, diseased and damaged bone or intervertebral discs are removed. A major disadvantage of this type of surgery opposed to minimally invasive spine surgery is that retraction or pulling of the muscle can damage the soft tissue. Although muscles are pulled to the sides so the surgeon can have a better look of the spine, this surgery affects more anatomy than required. In turn, a patient has a higher risk of muscle injury, pain, and a longer recovery period.

However, medicine and science evolve and new methods are created constantly, which is why today, back surgery can be performed in a non-invasive manner as well. Our Chicago orthopedic spine surgeon Dr Robert Fink will fully go over all of your surgical options. 

Our minimally invasive spine surgery in Chicago doesn’t require a long incision because surgeons use specialized instruments to access the spine through very small incisions. Non-invasive surgical procedure is designed to treat back problems with less injury to the muscles and other structures of the spine.

What is the minimally invasive procedure?

In most cases, our Chicago minimally invasive back surgery is performed with special instruments called tubular retractors. The surgeon makes a small incision and inserts the tool through the skin and soft tissues in order to reach the spinal column. This move creates the tunnel to the affected area that’s causing the pain. The main purpose of tubular retractors is to hold the muscles open throughout the procedure. Then, the surgeon uses different instruments to access the spine. When diseased disk material or bone that causes pain is discarded, it is removed through the retractor. On the other hand, devices that are necessary for the fusion and other parts of the procedure are inserted through this special instrument. This is why some surgeries require multiple retractors.

You’re probably wondering how surgeon sees what he or she’s doing in the spine. Since the incision is quite small, the surgeon is guided by fluoroscopy which displays real-time x-ray images of the individual’s spine on a screen during the entire procedure. Once the surgeon successfully completes the work, tubular retractors are removed allowing muscles to return to their usual position.

What are the benefits of minimally invasive back surgery?

This type of procedure is associated with multiple benefits such as:

  • Small incision
  • Smaller scar
  • Less pain medication needed while in hospital
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Less time spent in the hospital
  • Lower risk of pain (in general)
  • Minimized post-operative pain
  • Decreased risk of muscle injury
  • You get to return to work sooner
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Surgeons are able to achieve the same goal in a less invasive manner

What about anesthesia?

In most cases, minimally invasive back surgery requires general (you are asleep during the entire procedure) or a regional anesthesia (you might be awake but will have no feeling from the waist down).

Is non-invasive surgery effective for all back problems?

Although techniques regarding minimally invasive surgery continue to grow and most problems can be operated this way, there are certain conditions that do require a traditional approach offered by open back surgery. For example, high-degree scoliosis, tumors, and some infections mostly require more invasive approach.


One of the major advantages of non-invasive back surgery is the fact it decreases hospital stay by a half. In most cases, patients spend 2 or 3 days in hospital while open back surgery would require between 5 to 7 days of hospital stay. When it comes to minor procedures, patients get to go home the same day.

The overall recovery time varies from patient to patient. Some patients reach a full recovery in 6 weeks, while others need more time. It is important to stick with the recommended physical therapy due to the fact it increases recovery time and improves flexibility.

Faster recovery time also means you get to go to work sooner. However, decision to go back to work depends on the patient, but you shouldn’t do it without consulting your doctor. When it comes to minor procedures, patients who do sedentary jobs can start working part-time within 1 – 2 weeks. On the other hand, patients with more demanding non-invasive surgeries usually start working within 4 to 6 weeks. This is yet another perk of non-invasive back surgery, as patients with invasive procedures take more time to recover and thereby start working.


The primary purpose of back surgery is to help ease the pain in patients who found other types of treatment unhelpful for 6 to 12 months. Traditional, open back surgery needs a long incision and usually results in muscle pain and high susceptibility to injury. On the other hand, non-invasive surgery doesn’t require big incision and it’s characterized by a shorter recovery time.