One of the major developments in spine surgery today is minimally invasive procedures. By definition, minimally invasive surgery utilizes small skin incisions, minimizes the damaging effects of large muscle retraction, and attempts to leave the body as naturally intact as it was prior to surgery.
The goal is to achieve a more rapid recovery and lessen post-operative pain. An open conventional surgery usually has a recovery time of three- to six- months, where minimally invasive surgery is generally a three- to six-week recovery. Minimally invasive surgery also has been found to decrease the risk of infection, nerve injury, bleeding and scarring.
Minimally invasive spine procedures include video assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) and laparoscopic fusion. One of the instruments used for minimally invasive procedures is an endoscope.